Give - Man in Word Holding GiftThis is the time of year for giving and receiving. As your mailbox fills up with solicitations from nonprofits – everyone from the Salvation Army to the World Wildlife Fund – how do you know which ones are worthy? And even more important, how can you tell which ones you should steer clear of?

One of the criteria most people are concerned about when choosing a charity is how efficient they are.

  • Does the charity spend all of its revenue on fundraising, or
  • Does a good portion of the contributions received directly support service programs?
  • A rule of thumb is that 60% or more of your contributions should directly support programs.

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AdobeStock_146000120-300x238The holidays are a time for family, but sometimes the chaos of the season overwhelms all our best intentions to create special moments with our loved ones. With so much to do (and so little time to do it), it can feel like the holiday season comes and goes before we’re able to get fully on board. Sometimes, it’s all we can do to get the decorations up and the shopping (barely) done!

But there’s a big difference between merely surviving the holidays and actually enjoying them.

One way to bring the magic back into the season is to develop your own special family traditions. And what better place to start than with your grandchildren. They provide endless inspiration and make excellent accomplices.

medicinecabinetguy-300x200After a loss, family is often tasked with the responsibility of handling the financial and legal matters associated with administering the estate of the deceased.  While this in and of itself can be stressful and overwhelming, perhaps the more emotionally-draining ritual is sorting through personal belongings such as clothing, jewelry, and photos of a loved one.

One often overlooked personal item that must be removed when cleaning out after someone has died, are unused prescriptions and over-the-counter (OTC) medications.

What do you do with these now unneeded, but potentially dangerous, medications when your loved one is gone? How do you make sure they are safely disposed of and do not fall into the wrong hands?

Powertodecide-300x200It’s understandable that you might assume “estate” planning is only for people of means. The word “estate”—which conjures visions of Jane Austen-like scenery featuring sprawling mansions, rolling hills, and houses full of staff—is right in the name.

But the truth is, estate planning is a smart idea for pretty much everyone and anyone.

The thing is, estate planning isn’t just about money. It’s about having the power to make your own choices about how you want things handled and how you want to look after the people you love.

AdobeStock_44015480-300x271Many people mistakenly assume that Social Security is a fairly cut-and-dry proposition. You turn 62 – you get your long-awaited Social Security benefits. Right?

Well, it is not that straight-forward.

It is actually a very complex system that is best navigated under the guidance of a professional who knows something about the more than 8,000 different ways to claim Social Security.

AdobeStock_125116470-300x200By Colleen E. Masse

Planning a secure, comfortable, and fulfilling future for a loved one with a disability is a huge responsibility. It’s not a task to be undertaken lightly, or without expert legal assistance. 

A strong plan has two parts. The first is the drafting and executing of core legal documents including power of attorney, a healthcare directive, a Will, and a special needs or supplemental needs trust. Each of these documents serves an important role, but they are just the foundation. 

undueinfluence-300x200The subject of many a soap opera plot and even some films (like Rian Johnson’s 2019 sleeper hit, Knives Out), undue influence can be a fascinating way to explore family dynamics. But, it’s a little more nuanced than Hollywood makes it out to be – and a little less entertaining in real life.

In this article, we define what is and isn’t considered undue influence, take a look at what happens when someone suspects undue influence, and provide some guidance about how to avoid the drama, inconvenience, and pain that are usually the result of someone contesting a Will.

Defining Undue Influence 

3-generations-284x300Once upon a time, having three generations under one roof was common practice. And, in some parts of the world, it’s still a popular way of life.

Here in the U.S., Pew Research Center estimates that some 64 million Americans—20% of the overall population—live in households that include two adult generations.

And, it’s a trend that appears to be on the rise, and one that was likely influenced by the pandemic.

FishBowls-4839-6997-6991-v1Landing a new job is a daunting task when you’re in your 50s or 60s. The prospect of transitioning to a new company or perhaps rejoining the workforce after some time away can feel like having to reinvent yourself from the ground up.

It doesn’t help that, despite the passage of the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA) in 1967, ageism is still very much a part of our professional landscape.

Workplace discrimination against someone on the basis of age can take many forms from being passed over for assignments and promotions to being excluded from key meetings to being denied training experiences. And—yes—it can also show up in the hiring process.

AdobeStock_78991469-300x190All major life transitions require preparation and adaptation. Graduation, moving into your first apartment, landing your first job, getting married, having kids, changing careers, retiring — each of these life events typically comes with a lot of planning.

Becoming a caregiver for an aging parent, however, is an event that takes many people by surprise.

Sometimes, there’s a sudden health crisis like a stroke or a deteriorating chronic condition. Other times, the turning point is a long time coming, but is obscured by denial.

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