Live8’s an event just begging for someone like Mark Steyn to “take the mickey out of”, as the British like to say. And fortunately, he does just that in his latest essay in England’s Telegraph:
Seven years ago, you’ll recall, Sir Paul’s wife died of cancer. Linda McCartney had been a resident of the United Kingdom for three decades but her Manhattan tax lawyers, Winthrop Stimson Putnam & Roberts, devoted considerable energy in her final months to establishing her right to have her estate probated in New York state.
That way she could set up a “qualified domestic marital trust” that would… Yeah, yeah, yeah, in the immortal words of Lennon and/or McCartney. Big deal, you say. We’re into world peace and saving the planet and feeding Africa. What difference does it make which jurisdiction some squaresville suit files the boring paperwork in?
Okay, I’ll cut to the chase. By filing for probate in New York rather than the United Kingdom, Linda McCartney avoided the 40 per cent death duties levied by Her Majesty’s Government. That way, her family gets all 100 per cent – and 100 per cent of Linda McCartney’s estate isn’t to be sneezed at.
For purposes of comparison, Bob Geldof’s original Live Aid concert in 1985 raised