Theodore Roosevelt's Estate

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Theodore Roosevelt’s Last Will and Testament, which was written on December 13, 1912, is thought to be the first Will where the powers of appointment are granted and exercised. A power of appointment is the right to direct who will enjoy someone else’s property. Roosevelt’s Will contains a total of 8 powers of appointment and each one is discussed in detail below. The first power of appointment mentioned in the Will is in the second paragraph. In this case, Roosevelt (power holder/donee) is directing that the $60,000 trust fund, which he received from his father (creator or donor), be given to his children in equal amounts. It can not be determined if Roosevelt exercised a general power of appointment or a limited power of appointment because the language of his father’s will is unknown, and thus there is no way to determine whether or not Roosevelt had any restrictions on the enjoyment of the money contained in the fund. The third paragraph contains three separate powers of appointment. The first power of appointment is granted by Roosevelt when he request that his executors “collect and receive the rents, profits, interest and income, and apply them to the use of my wife, Edith Kermit Roosevelt, during her life.” Roosevelt, the donor, is giving a power of appointment to his executors (his wife and two sons – who are donees) that require them to use the income generated to provide for his wife. The second power of appointment granted by Roosevelt in the third paragraph occurs in the second note, when he authorizes and empowers his wife to “dispose of the principal of this trust to and among any one or more of my issue in such shares and portions…. as she shall declare.” In this instance, Roosevelt (the donor) has allo... ... middle of paper ... ...nsure that his fortune would be allocated as he saw fit. Roosevelt wanted to ensure that his wife was okay financially until her death, at which point the remaining principal would go to his children. Additionally, Roosevelt employed a smart strategy by placing restrictions on minors. Even today, there are stories about children who decide to live off their inheritance or spend their entire inheritance, which is most likely due to their lack of maturity in handling money. By having the executors manage the money for the minor children, Roosevelt ensures that they do not receive any money or property until they are mature enough to handle it, which, in this case, is 21 years old. As far as taxes are concerned, Roosevelt was probably not concerned with estate tax consequences with the design of his estate plan, since the estate tax was not enacted until 1916.

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