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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Avoid estate planning mistakes like Aretha

Aretha Franklin may have been the Queen of Soul, but she made gigantic estate planning mistakes that you should avoid. Franklin, who was divorced, died without a will or a trust despite having four grown children, one of whom has special needs.

If you follow in her footsteps could mean your loved ones won’t receive the inheritance you intended; disbursements could be long-delayed; ugly family squabbles may ensue; and your estate might owe additional taxes and your financial life will become a public record. If you have a special needs child, he or she may wind up losing some government benefits.

Many Americans don’t have a will or a living trust. A 2017 survey by found that only 4 in 10 adults do. The study noted 64 percent of Gen Xers and 42 percent of boomers don’t have a will. The top reason for not taking these easy estate-planning steps, according to survey respondents: they “hadn’t gotten around to it.”

Chances are you don’t have anywhere near Franklin’s reported $80 million. But the actual dollar value isn’t the point. It’s about making sure your loved ones receive what you want the way you want them to.

If you don’t have a will, your estate will wind up in probate court, which means it will become public for anyone to see.

In Franklin’s case, the feds will take a big bite, too. There’s a 40 percent estate tax on an estate’s assets over $11.18 million (the exception to this: money or assets left to charity). If Franklin’s estate truly is worth $80 million, the Internal Revenue Service will snag $27.5 million of that.

Get a will for Pete’s sake. You can do it online but your better off having a real attorney to make sure it is totally legal. If you don’t have a will, your estate will wind up in probate court, which means it will become public for anyone to see and create hassles for your loved ones.



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Biological dad not entitled to money in son’s death

A Milwaukee County, Michigan judge has denied a biological father a share of the wrongful death proceeds awarded in a suit brought by the mother of a 25 year-old man who died in a mental health facility back in 2012.

 Alicia Johnson, 48, argued that the biological father, 53 year-old Marcus Crumble, her first cousin, didn’t deserve a cent because he raped her when she was 15 and never helped financially with the son who was born as a result of that rape.

Circuit Judge David Borowski agreed with her, writing,

“The Court has seen far too many absent fathers in this community. Out of wedlock births, where a ‘father’ both literally and figuratively abandons a child are a scourge.

“Under the tragic facts and circumstances of this case, including the fact that Mr. Crumble committed both statutory rape and incest, this Court will not allow a six-figure windfall to be awarded to Mr. Crumble.”

However, Crumble was awarded the amount he chipped in for the funeral. Crumble rekindled somewhat of a relationship with his son, Brandon Johnson, after he graduated  college.

 Borowski wrote, that anyone 18 years old could create a will and direct their estate not go to an abandoning parent. But noted that very few unmarried people without children under 30 actually create a will.

He wrote the equitable powers of the probate court allow him to find that allowing Crumble half of the settlement would amount to unjust enrichment.

Borowski ordered the estate’s special administrator to pay Crumble only the amount he spent for Brandon’s funeral, give half of the remaining $837,000 to Alicia Johnson, and keep the balance for 90 days, or longer if Crumble appeals.



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3 ways to avoid probate

At its best, probate can be a real pain in the butt and time consuming. Property can’t be distributed until probate is completed and probate is paid out of the estate, which means less inheritance for heirs.

With that in mind here ar three ways to avoid probate.

Establish a living trust.

A living trust is a great way to avoid probate. What you do is transfer ownership of the assets you intend to bequeath into the trust. While there are cots an time involved in setting up a trust, it’s much easier than dealing with probate.

Give assets away. 

If you have a bunch of assets just sitting around waiting for you to die, you might want to consider giving them away to friends, relatives or charities.

Name beneficiaries in bank and investment accounts

It may seem like a no-brainer, but many people don’t name beneficiaries on their bank or retirement accounts.

All you need to do to get started is to fill out the payable on death forms that your brokerage company or bank can provide. If you are married, some of these accounts may be partially owned by your spouse. By taking the time to fill out the forms, you can make sure the proceeds are immediately dispersed at death without having to pass through probate, saving your heirs a lot of time and hassle.

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Should you roll your 401(k) into an IRA?

When you leave your current through retirement, layoff or other reason, what do you do with your 401(k)?

Many people leave it with their former employer, or cash out, but the best idea is to take it with you an roll it over into a retirement account, like an IRA that has no connection to your former employer.

Here are a few reasons why you should do that.

Estate planning

Rolling over your 401(k) into an IRA is an estate planning strategy that can be accomplished by taking advantage of what is commonly known as a “stretch-out IRA.” The IRS allows a young person to “stretch” distributions of an inherited IRA over his or her life resulting in decades of further tax-deferred growth on the account.

Money for college

You can take penalty-free withdrawals from an IRA to pay college expenses for your kids, spouse or grandkids.

Charitable donations

Individuals over age 70 can satisfy their required minimum distribution with a qualified charitable distribution. Retirees can give up to $100,000 to a charity tax-free from an IRA. This is not available from 401(k) plans.

Free withdrawals

Along with college you are allowed penalty-free withdrawals from an IRA to pay health insurance premiums if you are unemployed, including COBRA premiums. You can also withdraw up to $10,000 penalty-free to put toward the purchase of a house.


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