Kentucky generates about $50 million in revenue annually by taxing money or property bequeathed to a deceased person’s relatives, though not close relatives like children or a spouse — a levy that a state legislative committee is considering eliminating altogether.
Like many opponents of the tax, the head of the libertarian-leaning Bluegrass Institute says government shouldn’t be producing revenue off the efforts of people who generated the wealth in the first place because “they’ve already . . . paid the taxes on it during their lifetime,” Jim Waterstold WFPL.
Boulevard occasionally examines estates and estate planning by high-profile Louisville residents.
Ten years ago, former Courier-Journal Publisher Barry Bingham Jr.died of respiratory failure, less than two months after signing his last will and testament. He was 72 years old. The 13-page document’s preamble suggests a very religious man:
“In the name of God, amen! I, G. Barry Bingham Jr., a resident of Jefferson County, Ky., in perfect health and memory, God be praised, hereby revoke all wills and codicils heretofore made by men, and do make and ordain this my Last Will and Testament in manner and form following; that is to say, first, I commend my soul into the hands of God, my creator, hoping and assuredly believing through the only merits of Jesus Christ, my Savior, to be made partaker of life everlasting, and my body to the earth whereof it is made.”
Thereafter, though, it’s all business and few other insights into a man at the center of one of the greatest family business dramas in Louisville history. The will provides no special bequests to anyone by name, perhaps instead leaving that to his widow, Edie.
Bingham’s will was recorded with the county clerk 10 days after he died April 3, 2006. It didn’t value his overall estate, including only a few financial details: His half-interest in the family’s storied Melcombe seat in Glenview was worth $2 million. And a separate list of personal property totaled another $2.2 million — including, interestingly, gold South African Krugerrand coins then worth $852,000.