Friday, March 3, 2017
Michael Austin recently published an Article entitled, Virtual World, Real Money: Estate Planning Considerations for the Online Gamer, 9 Est. Plan. & Community Prop. L.J. 85 (2016). Provided below is an abstract of the Article:
This comment aims to address potential issues inherent in estate planning for digital assets, and it poses a series of questions that estate planners may use to gain a better understanding of their client’s virtual assets. But, before this comment can explore the intricacies of virtual economies in today’s games, a brief history of online gaming is necessary.
To begin, this comment will present a history of online gaming to lay a foundation for understanding online gaming’s evolution to its current state. The comment will then turn to briefly discussing recently reported, notable transactions in online economies to give examples of situations in which estate planning may benefit the purchasing gamer. Next, this comment will outline the approach that current state laws take to handle digital assets from an estate planning prospective. This comment will then argue that, in lieu of these laws, estate planners must pay special attention to the emergence of online gaming economies, which can yield considerable wealth for their clients. With these state statutes in mind, this comment will propose legislation that any state could adopt to account for the influx of virtual wealth throughout the video gaming community. Finally, this comment will propose a series of questions that can help an estate planner prepare to handle the various digital assets that a client may possess.
Friday, September 2, 2016
Winning an Olympic gold medal is a priceless opportunity, but based on where you are from, you can expect a financial windfall. For example, Joseph Schooling beat Michael Phelps in the 100-meter butterfly swimming event, becoming the first Singapore athlete to win a gold medal. Consequently, he will win the country’s $753,000 gold-medal bonus, grossing nearly 30 times more money than any American athlete would ever take home for winning the gold. The International Olympic Committee has come under fire over the years for how little of the generated money actually trickles down to the athletes. Oftentimes, however, superstar athletes can expect to rake in millions through endorsements, sponsorships, and paid appearances. Review the Article for a breakdown of various countries’ gold-medal bonuses.
See Sally French, How Much Money Will Gold Medal Winners in Rio Take Home?, Market Watch, August 21, 2016.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016
The odds of winning the lottery are very long, and a person has more of a chance of being struck by lightning or falling airplane parts. Despite the statistical unlikelihood of ever winning about 57 percent of American adults spend up to $50 billion each year trying to win the lottery. The odds stay the same regardless of how many times a person plays because there is an independent probability of winning in each round. A person can improve their odds by purchasing more tickets in one single drawing. Most of the revenue that States draw from lotteries come from a small percentage of dedicated players. The lottery can be fun to play for the entertainment value, but it should not be viewed as a serious investment strategy.
See Jean Folger, The Lottery: Is it Ever Worth Playing?, Investopedia, January 12, 2016.
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Contestants on The Price Is Right may win big but may also be unprepared for the hefty taxes owed before receiving their prizes. Winners must pay California’s state income tax up front as well as federal income taxes. If the prize is large enough, it could even bump you into a higher federal tax bracket.
According to Andrea Schwartz, who won a Mazda 2 compact car, she had to pay $2,500 in taxes before she could claim the car or end up forfeiting the prize. Another contestant explains that once you get a call from the car dealership during the 90-day window, you only have 10 days to arrange the paperwork, pay the taxes, and go pick up your new car wherever the dealership may be.
Schwartz also won a pool table and shuffle board table, which she had to pay money to store and ship to another location due to the small size of her apartment. She had to sell the prizes because the show does not allow you to take the cash value of any prizes. That includes extravagant vacations, which contestants must also pay sales and income taxes on or forfeit.
See Sarah B. Weir, The Price Is Right . . . and the Taxes Are High, Yahoo! Shine, Aug. 19, 2013.
Special thanks to David S. Luber (Florida Probate Attorney) for bringing this article to my attention.
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Economics is not the first thought that comes to minds of millions of individuals who enjoy the great American pastime. However, economics has become the talk for analysts at ConvergEX Group. Their analysts determined that a correlation exists between consumer confidence and attendance, which is good news for investors if attendance increases by 3 to 5%, as predicted by Commissioner Bud Selig, in the upcoming season. Analysts from ConvergEx argue that baseball attendance has mirrored consumer confidence in the past too. Attendance declined at the beginning of the recent recession in 2007 and has steadily increased since 2008.
Based upon the predicted modest percentage increase in attendance during this current season, it is likely that the economy will also enjoy a modest recovery. What is the reason for this correlation? According to CNBC.com, it is likely based upon the demographics of the average baseball attendee. Most are upper-middle class, and are likely members of what one would consider the average American household. Therefore, how the average American feels about the economy is actually how the average baseball fan feels about the economy. Let's just hope that more and more Americans will decide to go out to the old ballgame this summer.
Special thanks to David S. Luber (Attorney at law, Florida Probate Attorney Wills and Estates Law Firm) for bringing this article to my attention.