Millennials Need Parents to Talk About Long-Term Plans

Religion, sex, politics and money rank as taboo topics for polite conversation, perhaps avoided with our adult children, too. But money should be on the table for the simple reason that our financial situation often affects our kids as we age. A reminder of that comes in an honest and heartfelt column by Yahoo financial adviser Mandi Woodruff about her parents. She writes: “These days, I find myself worrying far more about their financial futures than I do my own. …

It’s August, So It Must Be Make-a-Will Month

So August is National Make-a-Will Month. Who knew? Getting a will isn’t the most pleasant of tasks, and consequently, too few people do it. A recent survey of more than 2,000 people by the online legal service Rocket Lawyer found that 64 percent don’t have wills. The biggest reason cited by folks: They just never got around to it. Some said they didn’t want to think about death. You might believe that only wealthier families need a will. You’d be …

Creditors Can Snatch Your (Inherited) IRA, Supreme Court Rules

A U.S. Supreme Court ruling has just made estate planning a lot more cumbersome for some high-net-worth parents who want to leave tax-free money in a Roth IRA to a child. Retirement accounts are protected from creditors in bankruptcy cases so people don’t wind up destitute in old age. However, the court unanimously ruled on Thursday that this is not the case for those who inherit IRAs. The court decision involves a case of a woman who inherited about $450,000 in an IRA from her mother …

Have You Had “The Talk”? New York Times Tackles a Thorny Issue

I was recently interviewed for a New York Times article, The Talk You Didn’t Have With Your Parents Could Cost You, about handling parents’ financial and legal affairs after they die. The article is an important one – both for adult children who may be dealing with these issues, and for parents who may be reluctant to share personal and financial information with their kids. My message is pretty simple: To anyone who may have to deal with estate matters after …

The Takeaway: Inheritance Wake-up Call for Boomers (That Windfall Isn’t Coming)

Whither boomer’s inheritances? Not coming, perhaps. “The post-war generation is living longer and increasingly using their savings to live out their retirement,” the Wall Street Journal notes. Which could mean many boomers are in for an unpleasant wake-up call soon.

The Takeaway: Estate Tax Battle Returns

The estate tax has long enjoyed far more notoriety than its size merits, subject to ample political debate despite the relatively small number of American families it affects (for now, those who inherit more than $5 million). With $7 trillion in tax hikes and spending cuts set to take effect next year unless Congress acts to stop them, debate about this politically-charged tax–opponents have labeled it the “death tax”–could rev up again soon.