Estate planning has been something that people have been thinking about for a very long time. The first evidence of people creating an estate plan comes from ancient Egypt. In about 1800 B.C., two Egyptian brothers wrote their last wishes in hieroglyphics that were later found by archaeologists in the 19th century. The terms of their wills were very familiar to anyone who is familiar with the estate planning today, including such provisions as inheritance choices, guardianship appointments, and more.
After the Egyptians, the Roman Empire saw the widespread use of last wills and testaments. In fact, by the time the code of Justinian was adopted in the fifth century A.D., Roman law had advanced to the point where specific requirements were made of people who wanted to make a will. Failing to meet those requirements would mean that the last will and testaments people left behind would be invalid.
Interesting Facts About Estate Planning. John Adams is responsible for the first estate tax.
The second President of the United States, John Adams, passed the nation’s first estate tax in 1796. The tax largely came about as a result of the Quasi-War, an undeclared conflict between the United States and France that took place across the world’s oceans. At the time, the United States did not have a strong Navy, and President Adams passed the tax in an effort to buy more ships to protect the nations fleet of trading vessels.
The estate tax was repealed after the conflict subsided, though it came back several times as America continued to enter into conflicts and required money to pay for them. The estate tax that is in place today is the direct descendent of the tax passed prior to the First World War, though the contemporary tax has gone through significant changes since then.
Interesting Facts About Estate Planning. Only a small number of presidents have died intestate.
Speaking of presidents and wills, the vast majority of presidents of the United States have left behind estate plans, or at least last wills and Testaments. In fact, only four presidents have died without leaving behind a will, known as having died intestate.
Not surprisingly, two of the four include two of the presidents that were assassinated while in office: Abraham Lincoln and James A. Garfield. Lincoln’s successor, Andrew Johnson, also died intestate, as did his successor, Ulysses S Grant.