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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 …
Say there’s an older adult – let’s call her Judy – who has difficulty caring for herself. Judy’s son, Charles, is her primary caretaker, but he abuses her, pinching her and refusing to give her dinner if she doesn’t stay quiet during his favorite TV show. Judy’s doctor notices that she has bruises on her arms and is rapidly losing weight; she reports Charles to family services, and Charles is eventually convicted of felony abuse. After several months, Judy dies of unrelated …
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 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.
Discussions of social safety net programs for older adults tend to evoke images of some exemplary past, where things like Social Security and Medicare weren’t needed because adult children lovingly took care of aging parents, multigenerational households were so common that no one even bothered labeling them that, and sick seniors never got carted off to nursing homes. But “such accounts often draw on a deeply sentimental view of the past,” writes history professor and author Hendrik Hartog. And today’s caregiving situation might actually be preferable.
How Much Memory Loss Is Normal? Misplacing keys or forgetting who was in that movie you just saw doesn’t necessarily mean you need a one-way ticket to the Alzheimer’s ward, but it could be more than ‘just aging,’ Jane Brody at the New York Times writes. Mild cognitive impairment comes from “subtle deficits in cognitive function” and results in things like difficulty finding words, remembering names, or following one’s train of thought. According to Mayo Clinic neurologist Ronald C. Petersen, mild …