iStock_000010559825SmallWho would ever want to pay a gift tax if they did not have to?

The answer: Your children!

Let’s take a closer look at this and let me give you some background.

The IRS has a gift tax. If you are a very generous person who makes lots of big gifts, you may have to pay a tax while you are alive, for the privilege of making that gift. But there are two protections against the tax.

  1. As of the 2021, the IRS has a $11.70 million lifetime federal exemption from any taxable gifts.
  2. There is also an annual exemption from taxable gifts of $15,000, per person and per gift recipient.

How do these interplay? Continue reading

AdobeStock_116263415-300x200On Thursday, January 21, Governor Ned Lamont gave an update on how the state is faring in the battle against COVID-19.

While the numbers are less than desirable, there is some hope on the horizon as the state continues to roll out vaccinations. As of January 21, there had been 226,930 first doses administered and 31,337 second doses administered.

Phase 1b

AdobeStock_13026636-3-300x205As parents, we all want what’s best for our children, but we also realize that they don’t always know what’s best for them.

When considering how your financial assets will be distributed upon your death, assessing your children’s level of financial responsibility is a critical component of making effective choices and creating a solution for a lasting legacy.

The truth is, developing good money management skills can take an entire lifetime.

handcaregiver-300x200There is a compassionate and hard-working army of heroes working in our midst, and they are not being fairly compensated for the critical work that they do.

We’re talking about home care workers.

These people—mainly women, many of whom are immigrants—fill a vital role in helping care for our aging loved ones, and yet many of them cannot even earn a living wage based on our current systems.

Aging-Quote-300x200Aging isn’t easy, but we all have to do it. Contrary to the myth our culture tries to sell us, there is no escaping the march of time and the changes it brings to our bodies, minds, and lives. And these days, understanding how to age well is increasingly important since our golden years stretch out for much longer than they used to. In the last hundred years or so, the average life expectancy has increased by almost thirty years.

The key, as it turns out, to being happy during the latter part of life is to discover and embrace the concept of positive aging.

This can be tricky, especially in a country like the United States, where getting older is something most people either ignore or fight. But science is proving that while aging may not be a bed of roses, there are lots of things we can do to make the process more enjoyable and ensure greater happiness and better health along the way.

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Yes, 2020 was a year unlike any other. So many challenges. So much negativity. But if we slow down and really think about it, hopefully we can identify some good things learned.

Hopefully, we can place a renewed focus on what’s truly important.

Preparing for your future is one of those things. Making things easier for your loved ones, is another. Take some time in the coming weeks to make sure your estate plan is done and that it’s current. Make it a point to get it done!

Why?

You may think once you’ve had it drafted that, like the old infomercial tagline, you can just “set it, and forget it.”

Wrong!

Even a plan that is only a few years old can be seriously outdated. Continue reading

FamilyBored-264x300Once the holidays are behind us and winter proper has settled in, we will likely find ourselves with some extra time on our hands.

In years past, trips and getting together with friends and family helped to break up the long, dark season between New Year’s and springtime. But the travel and social restrictions that are necessary to keep us and our loved ones safe from COVID will make it necessary to find other ways to entertain ourselves.

In case you’ve already watched all of Netflix (or are just looking for something beyond the latest binge-worthy show), we’ve put together a starter list of fascinating lectures, talks, and podcasts.

pinecone-300x300All across the country, the pandemic numbers are trending steeply in the wrong direction. Epidemiologists have long warned of a difficult winter season, and we certainly seem to have arrived on the threshold of that prediction.

Sadly, this rise in cases coincides with the winter holidays, traditionally a time for friends and family to gather in year-end celebrations that begin at the end of November and run through the New Year. This means that families will be facing some very hard decisions about get-togethers in the upcoming weeks.

The problem is that COVID-19 doesn’t recognize holidays. And while people may be exhausted by the grueling experience that we’ve all been in since March, now is not the time to relax our guard.

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It has been an extraordinarily long haul since the first lockdowns in March. We’ve all had to adjust to the “new normal” as it has affected how we work, learn, play, and go about our daily rounds. Most of us have gotten pretty good at adapting; but the hardest test is yet to come.

With the holidays right around the corner, our patience and willpower are going to be severely tried. This is the season of friends and family, of gathering together in celebration and thanks. The thought of having to forgo long-held traditions is almost too much to bear.

Despite the heartache that comes with staying apart, many families have committed to doing just that. Instead of traveling to be together, they are planning holiday dinners that will take place over Zoom – virtual gatherings are, of course, the safest choice during a pandemic.

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