I’M NOT INTERESTED IN INVESTING IN AN ENTERPRISE THAT DOESN’T CONSIDER THE RETURN ON MY CAPITAL TO BE ITS FIRST PRIORITY
If I invest in a company, I’m an owner. Why would I, or any other owner, countenance that company being managed in any way other than placing a return on my capital at the top of its priority list?
What I’m talking about is simply the fiduciary duty that company managers have to company owners (stockholders). This quote neatly summarizes the problem with CEOs pledging to prioritize the interests of “stakeholders” other than stockholders:
Capitalism is not named after the managers; it is named after the providers of capital, the shareholders. Its foundation is the strict and scrupulous fiduciary obligation (“the punctilio of an honor the most sensitive,” as Justice Benjamin Cardozo said in Meinhard v. Salmon), that gives credibility to capitalism by addressing the agency cost risk of entrusting money to others. Why should investors entrust their money to people who want to turn the fiduciary duty of strict loyalty into some version of “just trust me?”
EMPLOYEE/USER-OWNED BUSINESSES ALREADY EXIST, THERE’S NO GOOD REASON TO FORCE EXISTING COMPANIES TO ADOPT THOSE STRUCTURES
Cooperative associations and mutual companies are business organizations that are owned by their own employees or customers (users). There’s a good chance that you already participate in a mutual company through your insurance, as many insurance companies are mutual companies.
Since these types of business organizations already exist and are free to compete in the marketplace with investor-owned corporations, there is no compelling reason to force existing investor-owned corporations to give stock to their employees, or to force them to put employees on their boards of directors. I’m not sure what the proponents of such measures think they would accomplish, but I am sure that one of the results would be to make companies that are forced to take those measures less profitable and less able to provide good compensation to their employees.
If you’re unsure of how to deal with digital assets in your estate plan, my new Estate Planning Law Report might give you a place to start. It’s about the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (the “RUFADAA” for you acronym mavens).
My Estate Planning Law Report, both the current and past issues, along with my Real Estate Law Updates and Tax Law Special Reports, are available for your perusal in the news and events section of deconcinimcdonald.com.
Actually, the general subject of my August Estate Planning Law Report is something you should deal with, so that your loved ones don’t have to: instructions on funeral and burial. The situation that I hope you don’t have to confront is what happens if there is a disagreement about this often sensitive subject. If you deal with it, then there shouldn’t be any disagreement. Does that make sense?
In the Report I also provide information that I hope will be useful to you on the always timely topic of telephone scams. Regular readers know that’s a topic that I keep up with, because the scammers aren’t going to go away.
Read all about it in my Estate Planning Law Report for August, now posted in the publications section at deconcinimcdonald.com.
If a person dies without a will, it’s called intestacy. Another formulation is that someone who died without a will died intestate. Intestacy laws are laws that govern what happens to the assets of a deceased person who dies intestate. Those rules are necessarily one-size-fits-all to some extent.
A law professor thinks that intestacy laws “cannot truly reflect diversity of lifestyles and associations.” I can’t disagree with that. The Professor suggests “using big data to create personalized rules, tailored to the personal characteristics of each decedent.” I don’t know what data the professor is talking about, but it sounds complex. It’s also completely unnecessary.
It’s easy to avoid having the intestacy laws decide what happens to your assets. How easy? As easy as making a will. That’s personalized, and it avoids intestacy.
The message of a post on the Cato blog is that the reporting on how people responded to a poll question about financial preparedness is misleading. Read the post for the whole story, but the upshot is this: the assertion that 40% of Americans can’t handle a $400 emergency expense is not supported by the evidence.
A recent news item reports on a supposed trend of parents cutting back on their retirement savings to fund their grown childrens’ lifestyles. I’m always skeptical of this kind of report, but if this is in fact a trend, it dovetails with advice I have been giving for a long time about estate planning: if your children (or grandchildren) don’t have their act together by the time they are about 30, they probably never will, so there’s no point in delaying the distribution of their share of your estate past that age. If you don’t think they can be trusted with their share of your estate at age 30, then assume they won’t ever achieve that status, and plan accordingly.
A living will is a written statement that controls health care decisions that can be made on your behalf. That’s pretty important.
To learn more about what a living will is (and what it is not), how a living will works, and what alternatives exist for executing a living will, you will want to read my February newsletter. It’s available now in the publications section of deconcinimcdonald.com.
A tangible personal property list is a list you can make to go with your will, if it’s provided for in the will, to specify who is to receive items of your tangible personal property. Read all about it in my Estate Planning Law Report for December, now posted in the publications section at my firm’s web site, deconcinimcdonald.com.
Tangible personal property does not include currency. It also doesn’t include real estate, since that is real property, not personal property.
That reminds me of my favorite bit of dialogue in A Charlie Brown Christmas (which I watch every year, and watched again on Friday):
Lucy: “I never get what I really want [for Christmas].”
Charlie Brown: “What is it that you really want?”
Lucy: “Real estate.”
Will My Trust Shield My Assets From The Claims Of My Creditors? THE TIMELY TOPIC OF MY SEPTEMBER ESTATE PLANNING LAW REPORT
My September newsletter was mailed last week and is now posted at deconcinimcdonald.com. It’s about a question that comes up regularly: will a trust shield your assets from future liabilities?
In the newsletter I also discuss the perennial topic of what assets are exempt from the claims of your creditors under Arizona law. I said under Arizona law because the rules are different in other states.
On a related topic, here is a link to a newsletter I wrote a while back about Arizona law on how one particular type of property, your homestead, may be exempt from claims of creditors. I have heard that there’s no limit to the homestead exemption in some states, but that’s not the case in Arizona.
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The contents of this blog, this web site, and any writings by me that are linked here, are all my personal commentary. None of it is intended to be legal advice for your situation.