AdobeStock_610049353-300x200In most cases, the Social Security benefits of a deceased spouse do pass to the surviving spouse, but there are some specific considerations to keep in mind when it comes to who is entitled to which benefits and how to apply for them. 

People are often unaware that they may be able to collect Social Security benefits from their deceased spouse — called survivors benefits — but it’s important to investigate the options as part of your financial planning. 

In addition to the surviving spouse, other family members — including certain children/dependents and parents of the deceased — may also be eligible. But for the purposes of this article, we will focus on spousal benefits. 

AdobeStock_644647009-300x174In 2020 – as COVID-19 wreaked havoc on the economy and our very way of life – 2.4 million people who weren’t originally planning on it decided to retire. Two years later, in March 2022, more than half of those folks (1.5 million) had returned to work. 

This “unretiring” trend was the topic of research conducted by T. Rowe Price. Their survey-based Retirement Saving & Spending Study included the following highlights:

  • 20% of retirees are working either full-time or part-time.

Dollarphotoclub_69690745-300x212The Social Security Administration (SSA) recently announced that Social Security and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) or Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) monthly benefits will increase 3.2 percent in 2024.

Social Security recipients will see this cost-of-living (COLA) increase by January 2024, while SSI recipients will see the change go into effect beginning on December 29, 2023.

For SSI, the maximum payout for 2024 will rise to $943 per month (up from $914 per month). For individuals on SSI with an eligible spouse, the maximum monthly payments will total $1,415 (up from $1,371 per month).


How do you know whether or not you’ll need to go through the Connecticut probate court?

To answer this question, first let’s understand what probate is and the purpose it serves.

What is Probate?

Probate is the process for settling an estate under court supervision. It’s designed to serve as a protection against fraud by freezing the estate’s assets until a judge can confirm that everything is in order with the Will, beneficiaries, and creditors. Continue reading

AdobeStock_1426388-300x199Going through a divorce is an incredibly challenging and emotionally draining experience. It’s a time of upheaval, where everything you once knew undergoes a profound transformation.

Amidst the emotional turmoil, it’s easy to overlook practical considerations, such as updating your estate planning documents. Yet, failing to address these important legal matters during a divorce can lead to unnecessary complications and potential conflicts down the road. 

There are two parts to making sure your estate documents accurately reflect your wishes during and after a divorce. First, you need to have them in place. Second, you need to be proactive about updating them in response to any changes in your circumstances. 

Every so often, life has a way of throwing some curveballs.

Some are more minor in nature – a fender-bender when you are on your way to the store or a washing machine that suddenly stops working.

And, some are more serious such as a health scare or sudden death of a loved one.

AdobeStock_225690704-300x200The parent/child relationship is a complex one, and often becomes more so as the parent ages and the caregiver roles are reversed. It’s not easy to support a parent who is going through this experience. And it’s even harder when they consistently refuse help. 

When trying to persuade an elderly loved one to accept help — either from you or from a professional caregiver — you’ve probably found that navigating personalities, anxiety, shame, frustration, and plain old stubbornness can be exhausting and highly stressful.

However, there are steps you can take to negotiate a care plan that works for both you and your loved one. 

emptybench-300x200Few events in life are as difficult and overwhelming as the death of a spouse, especially in the first year after the loss.

Whether or not you consider yourself prepared – mentally, financially, and legally – the reality is that the loss of a spouse is a devastating event no matter how much advanced planning you have done.

In addition to the sorrow itself, the passing of your life partner can create a whirlwind of uncertainty that leaves you trying to figure out how to get through the first few days and weeks, then the first year, and ultimately, the path you want to take in the next chapter of your life.

AdobeStock_284813549-300x200Maybe you have a friend or family member that has talked about setting up a “living” or “revocable” trust, and now you’re wondering exactly what that is and whether it might be an appropriate estate planning tool for you. Fair question.

A living trust is not necessary for everyone, but – in the right situations – including it in an estate plan offers important advantages. 

This overview covers the most frequently asked questions about living trusts, and also provides links to further reading that can help you determine if a trust might be a good fit for you. 

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