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November 28, 2007
Blood and money
As the Brooke Astor case sadly highlights, “it can be risky to hand off financial responsibilities even to someone you think you can trust,” say Rachel Emma Silverman and Ashby Jones in The Wall Street Journal. But there are steps you and your lawyer can take to protect against power-of-attorney abuse. Naming multiple agents to manage your finances can provide key “checks and balances,” as can requiring “regular accounting statements.” You should also clearly “lay out exactly what powers you want your agent to have” and under what circumstances they can take over. Pick an agent you trust completely, but there’s no benefit in issuing “a license to steal.”
On top one decade, down the next
The top 1 percent of U.S. earners are a transient bunch, despite the “hand-wringing and finger-pointing” they draw, says Thomas Sowell in the New York Post. For example, “virtually anyone who owns a home in San Francisco can join the top 1 percent instantly”—at least for a year—“just by selling their house.” The top tax tier is not “an enduring ‘class’” any more than the bottom 1 percent. If anything, it is less permanent. More than half the people in the upper 1 percent in 1996 were not there in 2005, according to the IRS. So forget the “angst and rhetoric.” Most great spikes in income go as quickly as they come.
of The Week magazine.