What's Most Important to You?

Important Questions to Ask Your Parents

Do your parents have an estate plan? Is it up to date? These are important questions you need to ask your parents. No matter how rich or poor you or your parents are, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, you need to be asking these and several other...

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Pets and Estate Planning

If you have pets, my guess is that you love them as much as you do your children. I’m also guessing that you have not provided any written, or better yet legally, documented instructions about what should happen to them if you become incapacitated or when you die. If...

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The SECURE Act

On Jan. 1, 2020, the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act (SECURE Act) went into effect, and it represents the most significant retirement-planning legislation in decades. Indeed, the changes ushered in by the SECURE Act have dramatic implications...

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What Women Need to Know About Estate Planning

Women outlive men, make less during their careers and have less in savings due to pay discrepancies and time taken out of the workforce to raise their families. Here are a few things that women, in particular, need to know about estate planning: Minor children can be...

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The Last Important Gift to Give Your Family

As hard as it is for all of us to plan for our deaths, doing so is one of the best things you can do for your family. Adding to their grief and pain by giving them no clue as to where to find your personal and business paperwork should not be a memory you leave...

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How To Leave Your Home To Your Kids

Many parents want to know the best way to leave a home to their children. Before you make a plan, you should first be sure that your children actually want the property. We have seen too many parents take on unnecessary financial hardship in order to keep a home as an...

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Poorman’s Estate Planning

They call it the poor man’s estate planning. Put your child on the title to your deed and avoid probate.  Yet this poor man’s planning often ends up, well, poorly; and costing a lot more for the people you love. Here are some risks and solutions to this poorman's...

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Power of Attorney

Power of attorney (POA) is a document that grants a specific person, called an agent, the authority to make important decisions on behalf of another person, called the principal. There are many different kinds of power of attorney. The scope of the authority the...

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Protect Family Heirlooms

The passing of family heirlooms from one generation to another should be welcome tradition in most families, but unfortunately, this process can cause long-lasting family rifts if not done properly. There are many stories of families that have split over a silver tea...

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Long-Term Care Insurance

Elder Care is emerging as a significant issue for many people as life spans continue to increase. It is nice to know that because of health care advances, we can expect to live longer, but there are no included guarantees on the quality of life in the later years. So...

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Grandparents and Their Grandchildren

Grandparents and their grandchildren. Raising a grandchild (or even spending a lot of time with your grandchild while his or her parents work) can be fraught with legal and financial complications. Lacking many of the inherent rights parents have, grandparents who are...

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Legal Rights of Grandparents

When all is ideal in a family, the bond between grandparent and child is a special one. Maybe you’ve even heard that grandparenting is the grand reward for parenting. But what happens when the grandparent becomes the parent? Or when parents’ divorce or one parent dies...

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Things To Think About Before Making Gifts to Grandchildren

If you have grandchildren - or are getting ready to welcome one - you know the special joy they bring. After all, you can now leave all the heavy lifting to the parents and just enjoy connecting with them. Many grandparents who enjoy financial freedom are often more...

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How to Protect Elderly Parents From Financial Abuse

How can you protect your elderly parents from financial abuse? Have you ever thought about it? According to a recent study by the Investor Protection Trust and Investor Protection Institute, the top three ways that the elderly could be financially exploited are: Theft...

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How to Preserve a Family Vacation Home

If you are fortunate enough to have a family vacation home, you know the emotional value it holds for every member of your family. Many cherished family memories are rooted in a special place, which makes it important for current and future generations to preserve it...

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Summer Vacation Planning

It’s no surprise that Americans spend more time planning their summer vacations than they do planning their estate. After all, a vacation is a trip you want to go on, while the eternal trip is not. However, wouldn’t you travel with more peace of mind if you knew you...

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Checklist Before You Travel

Booking flights and that great destination resort is where everyone’s mind goes when thinking about travel and vacations. And you are also planning for pet care, house sitting and someone to grab your papers and mail while you are gone. But it is also time to think...

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Digital Data and Death

Take a moment and consider how much of your life you live online. If you are like most of us, you bank, pay bills, make purchases, connect with friends and communicate with just about everyone you know online. Think about all the digital assets you have accumulated -...

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Afterlife Identity Theft

A new trend in identity theft – afterlife identity theft – is on the rise, with thieves scouring obituaries for personal information to steal the identities of those who have passed.  When you lose a loved one, it is important to take quick action and notify a number...

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Digital Life After Death

Have you ever thought about what happens to your social media accounts after you die? Digital life after death? According to the Pew Research Center, 74 percent of Internet users maintain a social media presence using websites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and...

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Myths About Gift Taxes

April 15 is not only the traditional deadline for filing your state and federal income tax returns, but also the deadline for filing gift tax returns via IRS Form 709. Many people are confused about the subject of gift taxes. Here are some common myths about gift...

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Inherited IRAs in Bankruptcy

This supreme court decision made Inherited IRAs fair game in Bankruptcy: In Clark v. Rameker, Heidi Heffron-Clark inherited an IRA from her mother. She received distributions from that inherited IRA for several years before filing Chapter 7 bankruptcy. Ms....

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Life Insurance Proceeds and Taxation

If you have been responsible enough to purchase a life insurance policy as added protection for your loved ones, then you will want to carry that responsible action a little further by protecting that important payout from taxation. If you are married and have named...

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More Than Money

Your memorial should be so much more than just money. Let's look at a real life example: One of the most striking aspects of the National September 11 Memorial & Museum is the voice recordings left on the phones of the victims’ families of their last messages to...

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AMBER ALERT

As a parent, your number one job is to keep your children safe, and that’s not always easy. In our imperfect world there is no shortage of potential dangers to innocent children. One of a parent’s worst nightmares is the thought of the abduction of a child. Could an...

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Resources for Special Needs Adults

We're here to talk about Resources for Special Needs Adults. When you have a family member with special needs, it is important to understand that your estate planning strategy is unique and requires the assistance of an attorney experienced in creating Special Needs...

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Care for a Special Needs Child

Parents of children with special needs usually share one overriding concern: what will happen to my child after I’m gone? They also struggle with guilt for what they envision as an eventual destiny for their other children who might assume care of their special needs...

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Special Needs Estate Planning

For many people, the basics of estate planning are simple enough, but for those families with loved ones who are disabled or have special needs, the special needs estate planning process is more involved – and definitely more critical. The latest statistics show that...

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How to Create a Pet Trust

There is no doubt we are a nation of pet lovers.  Unfortunately, the law as it is currently written views pets as property, so providing for your pet in your will won’t work.  So how do you protect your favorite fur-person?  By creating a pet trust. To create a pet...

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Estate Planning for Blended Families

The term “blended family” has become commonplace in our society and refers to a family where one or both spouses were previously married and have children from the prior marriage. In some instances, the new couple goes on to have children of their own. With children,...

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How to Reduce the Cost of Long-Term Care Insurance

A person who turns 65 today has a 70% chance of needing some type of long-term care at some time in their remaining years, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. On average, women will need 3.7 years of long-term care and men will need 2.2...

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Help for Dealing with a Parent’s Dementia Diagnosis

Alzheimer’s Disease is in the news again thanks to Academy Award winner Julianne Moore’s performance in the movie Still Alice, where she portrays a college professor diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer’s and movingly portrays the effect it has on her family. Here's...

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Steps after Dementia Diagnosis

What do you do when a loved one receives a diagnosis of dementia? Maria Shriver knows the devastation of Alzheimer’s disease firsthand.  Her beloved father Sargent Shriver, founder of the Peace Corps and one-time candidate for Vice President of the United States, died...

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Legacy Planning

What exactly is "Legacy Planning?" Well, let's talk about it! The assets you leave to your loved ones can either be a source of relief or, sometimes, a source of panic if they don’t know how to manage those assets. Unless properly prepared, your loved ones may not...

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Tips for Charitable Giving

Want some tips for charitable giving? According to a recent Forbes article, Americans donated more than $316 billion to charity last year – and most of that came from individuals.  Holidays are a traditional time of giving, and not just because we like to get in those...

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Saving for College

Saving for college? If it’s important to you that your children attend college, the time to start saving is now, no matter how young or old they are; the question for you to ask is where to place your savings. If you start saving early in your child's life, you can...

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