Funerals for the rich

A crypt beneath New York’s Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral is available for $7 million. This isn’t just any crypt, It’s one of the last full-body burial spots in Manhattan and can hold nine caskets and 10 cremated remains. And at least three prominent NYC families have already inquired about it.

Today, funerals are becoming the way for the rich to flaunt their wealth. Along with lavish weddings and over-the-top birthday parties,  funerals have become a way for the rich to flaunt their wealth one last time.

William Villanova, general manager of Frank E. Campbell Funeral Chapel, New York’s “undertaker to the stars.” told “Accounting Today, “Whatever we can do that is legal, lawful and in keeping with the integrity of our profession, we will do.”

CEO Nigel Lymn Rose of the U.K.-based A.W. Lymn funeral home said, custom-made Rolls-Royce Phantom VII hearses and a fleet of 25 matching Rolls-Royce sedans are sought-after internationally.

He also told Accounting Today, “I get inquiries from people who have always driven Rolls-Royce’s and want their final journey to be in a Rolls-Royce.  They “want to make a statement: Ride it in life, ride it in death.”

Accounting Today also told of  the recent funeral of a fashion designer they did not name, where they assembled 120 gospel singers who performed as the casket was carried from the hall. A marching band performed at one service, and Lincoln Center’s Alice Tully Hall was covered in blue hydrangeas to mirror the deceased’s Hamptons home.

Businessmen and billionaires are often aggressively competitive in life “and that doesn’t end when they think they’re going to die,” said Ted Klontz, a Nashville, Tennessee-based financial psychologist.

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Mattress retailer with 3,400 stores weighs bankruptcy

Mattress Firm, the largest mattress retailer in the United States, is considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection as it seeks to close hundreds of underperforming stores in order to return to financial stability, according to a report by Reuters. The retailer operates 3,400 stores nationwide.

In September 2016, the company was bought by South African conglomerate Steinhoff International Holdings in a $3.8 billion deal that included Steinhoff assuming more than $1 billion in debt the U.S. retailer had racked up in an expansion move.

Last December, Steinhoff’s president and chairman resigned following the discovery of what the company described as “accounting irregularities.” Also in December, Mattress Firm revealed they planned to close about 200 under-performing stores in 2018.

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4 Northeastern states sue Trump administration

Four northeastern democratic states have sued the Trump administration claiming the new federal cap on the $10,000 cap on local and state taxes is unfair and unconstitutional.

New York, New Jersey, Maryland an Connecticut say the new tax overhaul has upended 150 years of precedent and that the deductions are essential to prevent the feds from abridging constitutional states rights. New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood said in a statement the new law is a result of “hyper-partisan and rushed process.” A State analysis found that the cap will increase New Yorkers taxes by $14.3 billion in 2018 an another $121 billion from 2019 to 2025.

According to the lawsuit filed yesterday in Manhattan Federal Court, the so-called SALT deduction will make it more difficult for the four states to maintain their taxation and fiscal policies, thus “hobbling their sovereign authority to make policy decisions without federal interference.”

The tax law, passed last December, caused some local governments to revise their rules to help last-minute change in federal tax strategies, while homeowners in states with the highest property taxes quickly began looking to prepay bills ahead of the cap.

In a written statement, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said the federal government “went after these states deliberately” in crafting the SALT deductions cap.

 

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How much is rich?

More people are more rich than at any time in our history. The number of 1 percenters has exploded over the last twenty years. But how much money do you need to have to be considered rich? Bloomberg News has given us an answer: $25 million. And that’s basically “welfare” rich

According to Bloomberg, the elite private banks say $25 million is just get you in the door, rich.  To most $25 million is a non-attainablke dream but to the private bankers, it’s the basic tier.

But don’t get the idea that these bankers turn up their noses at those with just a puny few million. Bloomberg quotes Brent Beardsley of Northern trust Corp. who said 505 of their new clients have assets in excess of $10 million, “but to get to the highest level companies have raised the bar.”

What makes people rich these days has changed in the last 20 plus years. In 1994 what made someone rich was $3 million and now $25 million is high net worth.

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When do you need an attorney?

The old saying goes, “Everyone hates lawyers until they need one.” This bit of wisdom was borne out in a 2013 Pew study that found only 18% of those surveyed had a favorable opinion of lawyers.

On the other hand, those who have a need for a lawyer have different opinions. 61% of those said a lawyer was a necessity and 57% said they were important. So, what if you need an attorney?

All attorneys are not created equal. By that we don’t mean that some are better than others. While this is true, what we really mean is attorneys usually specialize in various aspect of the law. But why not look online for help?

While their is a plethora of information online quite often it isn’t accurate. Laws and regulations vary from state to state and if you rely online you might not get the exact info you need.

What you need is to find a lawyer who specializes in what you need. Just as you would hire a plumber, not a roofer when your sink is stopped up, you wouldn’t hire a personal injury or criminal lawyer to deal with your will and estate.

When and if the time comes when you need to seek out the services of an attorney, make sure to do your research and try and find the most qualified attorney in your local area.

 

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