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 …

Beware the ‘Befriender’

It’s often true that older people feel lonelier as their children leave the nest, their friends move south and their spouses pass away. That’s one reason they’re particularly vulnerable to new “friends” who in truth are out to exploit them. As Katherine Pearson, a professor at Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law, explains in the Elder Law Prof Blog, these “befrienders” aim to gain the trust – and eventually access to the assets – of their victims. But if you …

Don’t Trust the Government? Join the Club

Public trust in the government is near an all-time low – not exactly a shock for a survey taken during a shutdown of the federal government. Sign up for the AARP Money Matters newsletter. Only 19 percent of American adults trust the federal government to do what’s right just about always or most of the time, according to a new survey from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press. More than four-fifths of respondents said they are …

In $300 Million Estate, Lawyers Lose a Piece of the Action

Most of us don’t have $300 million to leave behind when we pass on. But for those who do, it’s no surprise when there’s a fight over their wills. And when they leave most of their estate to charities and caretakers instead of family members? Bring on the trusts and estates lawyers. A couple of weeks ago, I told you about Huguette Clark, the New York City heiress who died after living for 20 years in a hospital room, treating …

Does My Financial Adviser Have My Best Interest at Heart?

If you think your financial adviser is giving you retirement investment advice that’s in your best interest, you could be sadly mistaken. What you may not know is that many financial professionals aren’t required to put their clients’ best interests first because they’re not bound to a fiduciary standard (a legal requirement to act in the investor’s best interest). So the financial advisers you trust may actually be motivated more by the commissions they get from steering you into certain …