AdobeStock_340365597-300x200Our country has made strides in advancing the rights and equality of the LGBTQ+ community – but, we still have a long way to go before same-sex couples are protected in the same way as heterosexual couples. As laws are being developed to protect everyone equally, it remains important for LGBTQ+ families to take special care in their estate planning in order to ensure that their wishes are followed.

Failure to plan appropriately can result in unintended consequences like a surviving partner being left completely out in the cold financially. The truth is, many laws still give preference to biological and recognized family relationships over same-sex partners. Matters can be further complicated when the LGBTQ+ individual’s family does not approve of their lifestyle, and would be content to just cut a partner out of any inheritance.

To avoid this kind of emotionally painful and financially devastating situation, LGBTQ+ couples should be diligent and proactive about estate planning. A well-designed and executed estate plan can also help avoid probate, which can in turn provide tax advantages as well as ensure your assets are disseminated as you intended.

AdobeStock_111672343-300x168If you’re single, estate planning might not be at the top of your priority list. You may assume, based on how most professionals talk about the process, that estate planning is mainly for couples with kids.

But the truth is, everyone should have an estate plan in place.

Even if you’re not deeply concerned about what will happen to your belongings when you are gone, there are many other reasons to have an estate plan.

Cybercrime-AdobeStock_213940869-300x200Technology and the internet provide a lot of speed, access, and convenience to our everyday lives. Unfortunately, they are also a virtual playground for a lot of bad actors who are always finding new ways to take advantage of the unwary and unprotected.

Hackers and cyber thieves can truly wreak havoc. According to the Harris Poll, the majority (59%) of Americans report having experienced cybercrime. That’s 152 million people who have had their data security compromised!

Leading security company Symantec organizes cybercrime into several categories, including computer viruses and malware, online credit card fraud, identity theft, outright scams, and others.  And, in another report, Symantec found that over the course of just one year, 60 million Americans were victims of identity fraud. In dollars and cents, that translates into a consumer loss of $16.8 billion! And, sadly, according to FBI cybercrime statistics, people older than 60 are the most likely to become victims of online cons. 

downsizinghome-300x154By Jill Brightman

Buying a home can be the most expensive and life-altering purchase we will ever make.  It is where we plant our roots, grow our families, try our hand at home improvement tasks, decorate and re-decorate again to our tastes, and mostly, it’s where we make cherished memories.

However, there often will come a time when we need to decide (or in some circumstances, the decision will have to be made for us) if it’s time to downsize, move on to new surroundings, or re-think if our family home can be made safe and comfortable as we age.

AdobeStock_210046793-1-300x197Just when you think you’ve reached a point in life where you know exactly what love is, along come grandchildren. And it’s fun to spoil your grandchildren! When they are little, it’s so easy. You can let them have ice cream before dinner, give them that amazing game system they wanted (and their parents wouldn’t buy), or let them stay up extra late.

There are more momentous ways to make your grandchildren’s lives a little sweeter as they get older. If you are fortunate enough to have the ability to gift financial assets to your grandkids, there are a lot of different ways to legally sidestep taxes for both you and your grandchildren. And a number of these options also make it possible to earmark the money for specific purposes or protect it for when a child is older.

Cash is King.

Yes-or-No-woman-300x169Someone has asked you to be their power of attorney – but you’re concerned. How do you respond?

Becoming someone’s agent under a power of attorney is not something to be undertaken lightly. It is an enormous responsibility that can potentially become a stressful and time-consuming duty.

So what exactly is a POA? When you are designated as a power of attorney, you are given the power to make decisions on behalf of the “principal” (the person executing the power of attorney) in case the principal should become incapacitated. Your role as the agent is to make choices and take actions to manage the principal’s affairs based on what you believe the principal would have done themselves. In other words, put yourselves in their shoes and act as they would on a situational basis.

AdobeStock_251617656-300x192By Jill Brightman

As a child, one of my favorite past times was sorting through my family’s old, black and white photographs that had been passed down from multiple generations.

I romanticized the pictures of grandfather, in his World War II military uniform, and my grandmother, his young bride.  I chuckled at looking at my own father as a gawky teen and was awestruck by looking at my great-grandparents in their turn of the century attire.

grandma-and-young-adult-head-to-head-300x200By Esther Corcoran

Alzheimer’s is not a normal part of growing older, as many people seem to think. It is a disease that impairs memory and intellectual abilities to the point where their daily life is being affected. When people notice things in their daily life changing, there are 10 early signs to be aware of and to keep into consideration before seeking medical help.

1. Memory loss that disrupts daily life. Memory loss is one of the most common signs of Alzheimer’s, especially forgetting recently learned information. Other instances include forgetting important dates or events; asking for the same information over and over; increasingly needing to rely on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things they used to handle on their own.

Carol-300x286By Carol Frances

I’m about to leave the best job I’ve ever had. To work longer hours. To be on my feet all day and to deal with the public. I’m parting company with the finest group of colleagues I’ve ever had the privilege to work with to embark on a journey into the unknown.

I wouldn’t blame you if you called me crazy!

AdobeStock_158377229-300x200Applying for Medicaid benefits can be overwhelming.

Between the paperwork, the ever-changing rules and regulations, and the inevitable waiting game that you’re up against, there’s a lot you need to know.

Here is information to get you started and hopefully, to make it easier for you.

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