I was thinking about the GT Advanced Technologies announcement earlier this week when my mind drifted to some of the truly excellent businesses that have been able to deliver growth this past decade without adding debt to make investments or repurchase stock. That’s not necessarily a bad thing—if your company can take on debt at 1%, 2%, 3%, or 4% interest rates, and if the stock is trading at a price that is less than what it would fairly be worth, it can make long-term shareholders richer than they’d otherwise be if you didn’t do the buyback.
You know how Charlie Munger talks about having a “too hard” pile into which he puts the moral and legal dilemmas that he cannot properly solve because the values that you have to prioritize over the other is too difficult to judge? “Too hard” is where I keep finding myself returning when I try to think about how the law should be *ideally* when it comes to gifts and will changes that someone makes on the brink of death.
This topic caught my attention when I was reading a June piece in The New York Times titled “When A Will Divides An Estate, And Also Divides A Family”. The narrative is told from the point of view of Kate (last name not provided in the article), who found herself in this situation: her dad died prematurely, and her grandmother intended to equally divide her estate among all her children at death (there were five children, counting Kate’s deceased father). In 2007, Kate’s grandma created a will equally dividing the estate among all five kids so that the share ascribed to Kate’s father would be divided between Kate and her siblings.