LSAT Reading : Recognizing Details of Law Passages

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for LSAT Reading

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Example Question #11 : Recognizing Details Of Law Passages

"Lynch Law" by William Floyd (2015)

“Lynch Law” as it was known can appear as a peculiar feature of the past only. Never in the present day does a mob, carrying torches, clubs, and small firearms, descend upon a county jail to take from a cell an accused criminal who is supposed to have committed a crime so heinous and unspeakable that the crowd believes the only justice is to find the nearest sturdy tree to hang the accused from. This action, so common in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, particularly in the Southern portion of the United States, died out after World War II, with only a few isolated incidents, roundly disparaged, revealing the last gasp of the Lynch Law.

Perhaps the exact mechanisms of lynching culture do not exist, features of a bygone society, more rural, prejudiced, and violent than that which replaced it. Yet the attitudes have never left the consciousness of many Americans. On the chyrons of the nightly news and splashed across front pages of newspapers, accused criminals are only treated as such out of formality. In actuality, the tone of the reports reveals that the poor soul accused of a crime is assumed to be found guilty once the proper processes of the judicial system have run their course. Through a nod to a presumption of innocence and unwavering fidelity to the slow march of the courts, any sensible citizen can congratulate themselves that they are well beyond their ancestors, whether by blood or thought, who invoked the lynch law.

In actuality, a person can be arrested on the most base of suspicions, that they have the same vague hairstyle, shirt color, or peculiar mannerism of suspect’s description given by a witness. Then this poor soul will have to be questioned by any number of detectives, who look for the slightest pause, tic, or odd gaze. And heaven help him should he forget where he was for some small sliver of time. At that point, he is all but done for in front of the criminal justice system, being as he is with some apparent similarity to the description of the suspect, no alibi, and the accusations of police and prosecutors. While he is exceedingly lucky not to have to worry about being taken out of his cell and murdered underneath a large tree, he is still shunted forward to a removal from society after his placement in a labyrinthine prison system.

The last examples of lynching in America occurred __________.

Possible Answers:

immediately before World War II

during the late nineteenth century.

during the early twentieth century

in the eighteenth century

after World War II

Correct answer:

after World War II

Explanation:

The author does not go into many specifics about the history of lynching, instead focusing on the attitudes and cultural forces which caused lynching to happen; however, the author does give one small clue as to the chronology of lynching by noting that it "died out after World War II."

Example Question #12 : Recognizing Details Of Law Passages

"529 College Savings Plans"

Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code encourages saving for future college costs through a kind of tax-advantaged savings account. A 529 plan describes a program establishing savings accounts for all manner of college costs in which the account holder trades investment risk for the prospect of growing the balance. As with all securities, novice investors should consult with a licensed broker before investing money in a 529 plan.

A 529 college savings account comes into existence when an investor chooses a plan and names a beneficiary. States drove the creation of this investment vehicle in response to rising education costs and still manage the investment funds for all 529 plans. Brokers come into the picture when selecting a plan since an account holder need not be a resident of the state managing it. Plans offered by individual states differ, but all benefit from favorable federal tax treatment.

However, securing the tax benefits requires professional care. Section 529 shields contributions to plan savings accounts from federal income taxes up to an annual limit of $14,000 for each beneficiary. The money remains tax-exempt as long as it goes to pay for “qualified higher education expenses,” a definition which now includes computer and internet costs. A withdrawal from a 529 account for any other purpose will likely trigger federal tax liability and a 10 percent penalty.

For his or her part, the beneficiary enjoys a passive role in the investment process. The account holder controls the investment strategy and can choose to allocate funds to conservative or aggressive growth options. Many state 529 plans offer something similar to a retirement pathways account that becomes more conservative as the beneficiary gets closer to the anticipated date of college enrollment. A professional broker can help navigate the options.

A broker can also help an investor avoid missteps after the account is created. Unlike with retirement accounts, federal tax law restricts investment changes to one per calendar year. An account holder can change the beneficiary of a 529 plan or rollover unused funds to a new beneficiary without penalty, but only if the original and new beneficiaries are related. The state agency managing a 529 plan may place additional restrictions on changing the account.

Finally, it is important to have guidance fitting a 529 account into the overall strategy for paying for college. A beneficiary can use 529 plan funds for the same broad purposes as financial aid. As a result, it may reduce the beneficiary’s eligibility for need-based grants or loans.

Of course, using a broker will increase the transaction costs. A broker who helps the account holder navigate to the best state plan will charge a transaction fee or “load.” The broker can shift the load to various phases in the investment process in order to optimize the cost depending on how long the account holder plans to keep the investment.

According to the passage, who or what manages the investment fund in a 529 college savings plan?

Possible Answers:

The federal government

The account holder

The beneficiary

The broker

The state government

Correct answer:

The state government

Explanation:

Correct answer: Paragraph 2 explains that each state manages the investment fund for the 529 plan it offers.

Wrong answers: The account holder manages the account, but not the fund investments; A broker can help the account holder manage the account, but not the fund investments; The passage only mentions federal policy with regard to tax treatment; The beneficiary’s role is passive, according to the passage.

Example Question #11 : Recognizing Details Of Law Passages

"529 College Savings Plans"

Section 529 of the Internal Revenue Code encourages saving for future college costs through a kind of tax-advantaged savings account. A 529 plan describes a program establishing savings accounts for all manner of college costs in which the account holder trades investment risk for the prospect of growing the balance. As with all securities, novice investors should consult with a licensed broker before investing money in a 529 plan.

A 529 college savings account comes into existence when an investor chooses a plan and names a beneficiary. States drove the creation of this investment vehicle in response to rising education costs and still manage the investment funds for all 529 plans. Brokers come into the picture when selecting a plan since an account holder need not be a resident of the state managing it. Plans offered by individual states differ, but all benefit from favorable federal tax treatment.

However, securing the tax benefits requires professional care. Section 529 shields contributions to plan savings accounts from federal income taxes up to an annual limit of $14,000 for each beneficiary. The money remains tax-exempt as long as it goes to pay for “qualified higher education expenses,” a definition which now includes computer and internet costs. A withdrawal from a 529 account for any other purpose will likely trigger federal tax liability and a 10 percent penalty.

For his or her part, the beneficiary enjoys a passive role in the investment process. The account holder controls the investment strategy and can choose to allocate funds to conservative or aggressive growth options. Many state 529 plans offer something similar to a retirement pathways account that becomes more conservative as the beneficiary gets closer to the anticipated date of college enrollment. A professional broker can help navigate the options.

A broker can also help an investor avoid missteps after the account is created. Unlike with retirement accounts, federal tax law restricts investment changes to one per calendar year. An account holder can change the beneficiary of a 529 plan or rollover unused funds to a new beneficiary without penalty, but only if the original and new beneficiaries are related. The state agency managing a 529 plan may place additional restrictions on changing the account.

Finally, it is important to have guidance fitting a 529 account into the overall strategy for paying for college. A beneficiary can use 529 plan funds for the same broad purposes as financial aid. As a result, it may reduce the beneficiary’s eligibility for need-based grants or loans.

Of course, using a broker will increase the transaction costs. A broker who helps the account holder navigate to the best state plan will charge a transaction fee or “load.” The broker can shift the load to various phases in the investment process in order to optimize the cost depending on how long the account holder plans to keep the investment.

The author mentions the “qualified higher education expense” rule in order to ____________.

Possible Answers:

reinforce that a 529 plan is a risky investment product best avoided

demonstrate one possible pitfall for a novice investor who goes it alone

offer a reason for choosing a 529 plan as an investment vehicle

advocate for streamlining the tax code to make plan management easier

respond to criticisms that brokers overcharge for their services

Correct answer:

demonstrate one possible pitfall for a novice investor who goes it alone

Explanation:

Correct answer: The author mentions this threat of taxes and penalties for failing to comply with this IRS rule in order to illustrate one reason why a novice investor should consult a professional before investing in a 529 plan.

Wrong answers: The author is not trying to dissuade the reader from investing in a 529 plan; The passage never mentions a criticism against brokers; Advocating for reform is not the reason the author mentions the rule here; The author is not trying to push investment in 529 plans.

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