I learned the word seize at an early age watching cartoons. A bad guy would yell “seize him!” while chasing the escaping hero. Not only can a person be grabbed suddenly and forcibly, assets can as well. Asset seizure or forfeiture is when government confiscates private property. It’s not voluntary; it’s a sudden, forcible act. Taxes are the most common government asset seizure. Probate costs and Obamacare mandates are other examples.
Government has the power to legally seize things. Some politicians believe government should seize wealth and redistribute it. Others disagree. The point is that law is the power to forcibly take away property. You also have legal authority to seize things. One of my favorite idioms is carpe diem, Latin for “seize the day”. Some think this means enjoy the present, don’t worry about the future. I think carpe diem means to attack the day with vigor and purpose. But you have to have legal power to attack or seize the day; that means sufficient assets, insurance, legal documents and an awareness of what’s going on in our economy.
Wealth is under siege because we are in a vicious political war of how much and whose wealth is to be seized. The issue is important for my clients because the elite wealthy have enormous resources guarding their assets from seizure. In 1945 the federal tax code was 8,000 pages. In 2011 it was over 72,500 pages. The bottom 60% of the population has very little or negative wealth. So, if more wealth is going to be seized, it will be yours. The 1% has enormous material power resources protecting its wealth. You have savings, advisors and knowledge all tucked away in your Estate Planning War Chest.