Keeping Loneliness Away In Retirement
April 22, 2015
Retirement can be difficult for many. You may live far from your family. You find it hard to meet new friends. You no longer have job to go to. It can be lonely.
A story on the huffingtonpost.com suggests five ways to avoid loneliness in retirement.
- Take pains to connect with people. Find groups or clubs in your area that share your interests. Enroll in classes.
- Look for for meaning. Figure out something important to do. Write a journal. Decide on goals.
- Don’t fight change. It is not too late to learn new things. At the same time, you will meet new people.
- Give back to your community. You can do this through volunteering and charity work.
- Consider getting a roommate. If life alone is lonely, you may want to get a roommate. Innovative housing plans are getting more popular.
Filing Taxes For A Family Member Who Has Passed On
April 15, 2015
When a family member dies, you aren’t usually thinking about paperwork. But there is plenty of it. And one of the things that must be done is the filing of a final tax return.
When someone dies, an estate is created to collect all of the person’s debts and assets. Somebody is named to be the executor, either a person named in the deceased’s will or his or her spouse. If there’s no spouse, it would be the person’s children.
The return must be filed by the April 15 deadline or there could be penalties. The return is just like it would have been had the person still been alive except the word “deceased” appears next to the person’s name and the date of death is written at the top.
If the deceased person is due a refund, the estate needs to file a Form 1030, according to a story on dailyfinance.com.
When a person dies with investments and pensions, much of that income is taxed to the person who inherits those funds, the story says. One exception is a Roth IRA that was at least five years old.
Coach Was Generous and Smart
April 8, 2015
The late basketball coach Dean Smith of the University of North Carolina got a lot of publicity over leaving $200 to each of about 180 players he coached over the years. But notice how he did it.
Coach Smith arranged for the payouts to come from a revocable living trust rather than his will. The trust is an estate planning tool that deserves attention, according to a story on bloomberg.com.
Wills are public documents, so many people prefer trusts to keep their details private. In this case, the fact that the gifts became public was because players talked about it.
A revocable living trust is one that you can change your mind about at any time prior to passing away. Trusts are more expensive than wills, however. And there must be an administrator. Trusts may not be for everyone, so talk to an estate planning attorney to find out if a trust is for you.
Plan Ahead To Prevent Checks Being Held
April 1, 2015
If you have a utility or other recurring bill in the name of someone who has died, you may want to change the name on the account quickly. Some people just leave the name of the deceased on the bill and keep paying it.
In an article on democratandchonicle.com, the case of a New York family that failed to do so is chronicled. The failure to change the name on the account actually cost them money.
Their house was on the market for a while and they continued to pay the bills. In time, they learned that the utility company actually owed them money, and the company sent the family a check, made out to the deceased man whose name was still on the account.
The family couldn’t cash the check and the company would not or could not reissue it in another name.
A lawyer said it is a common problem among the elderly and involves all sorts of accounts, cable, telephone and others. The lawyer said the problem could be fixed by asking the company to make the check out to the deceased man’s estate. This would require the estate’s executor going to the utility company’s office with the check, and the death certificate, along with paperwork showing that he or she is the executor.
Medicare Nursing Home Grading System Altered
March 25, 2015
The U.S. government has revamped its grading system for nursing homes, and the new way will make it tougher for homes to get higher grades.
Currently, about one-third of homes are below standard. With the new grading system, the top homes, which make up about one-third of all homes, lose one star.
The objective is to get the homes to provide better services.The new standard for assessing home changes the entire criteria. For example, the new rating system will evaluate the quality of anti-psychotic drugs given to patients.
The nursing home industry does not like the change, saying it is annoying for them to comply with, according to a story on frontlinedesk.com.
Why People Avoid Estate Planning
March 18, 2015
There are several reasons why people put off estate planning.
A story on huffingtonpost.com listed a few of them. They include:
- People think they don’t have the time. The author says this is just an excuse.
- Nobody wants to think about dying. This may be the most common reason, the story says. Yes, it is uncomfortable, but necessary.
- People don’t understand it. This may be the most valid reason of all. So the author recommends engaging an estate planning attorney to help you understand what it is all about.
- They don’t think they have enough of an estate to worry about. But you have an estate if all you own is a car. If you start planning now, it will be less complicated later.
Basic Things To Know About Estate Planning
March 11, 2015
Here are three simple but key things you need to know about estate planning.
- The estate tax exemption
In 2015 you can leave gifts to others upon your death up to $5.43 million free of federal estate taxes. If married, both you and your spouse have this exemption, totaling $10.86 million.
An article in the Wall Street Journal also identifies two other figures to know:
- The gift tax exemption
You can also give away a cumulative total of $5.43 million to family or friends during your life without paying any federal gift tax. If married, both spouses get the $5.43 million exemption.
Gifts made under the $14,000 annual gift tax exclusion rule will not trigger any federal gift taxes nor will they reduce your federal gift tax or estate tax exemptions. Gifts in excess of the $14,000 “freebie” will reduce both exemptions dollar for dollar.
- The $14,000 yearly exclusion
Gifts made up to this amount each year reduce your taxable estate.
Smoothing Things Out For Your Heirs
March 4, 2015
There are several things you can do to ease the legal distress that your loved ones may suffer after your death.
First, you can do is understand the legal terminology. Know what these terms mean: will, trust, health care directive, power of attorney, beneficiary forms, estate taxes, and probate.
After you understand them, you will have a better idea of what to do so that it is easier for your heirs once you are gone.
One thing you may want to do is leave your home to your heirs, says an article on benzinga.com. This an be done in a number of ways, including putting your home in a trust.
You can look all these terms up on line, but a consultation with an estate planning attorney is probably the best way to go to understand what it is you need to know in planning for after you are gone.
Telling Your Kids How Much You Are Worth
February 25, 2015
Should your kids know how much money you make or how much you are worth?
A story in the New York Times says, yes, sort of.
It says you can begin to initiate them into your financial world as early as age 5 or 6. Build it slowly, and give them fuller answers to their questions by the time they are teens. It can be a valuable lesson, the story says.
Money is a mystery to kids. They wonder why their house isn’t as big as their cousin’s. Or they may want to know why teachers don’t make much money?
“None of your business” is the wrong answer. They should know about money. Then they can understand how much college costs. And why they should be saving. It will help them later when they have to earn a living and support a family.
No, you don’t have to let them see your tax returns, but you can answer their questions with some degree of truth. Don’t forget, they can find out a lot of stuff on line. For example, they can go on Zillow and see what your house is worth – and how much their friends’ houses are worth.
Telling them something about your net worth can also help them to learn values, the story says. Maybe you want to share with them how much you give to charity.
There are no hard and fast rules, but keeping the kids totally in the dark is probably not the best way to go about it.
Facebook Now Offers ‘Living Will’
February 18, 2015
Facebook users can now control their pages after they pass away.
The social media company has created a new tool that lets users determine what happens to their accounts after they die – a sort of “living will” for their pages.
New settings now allow users to have their profiles deleted or have a “legacy contact” or executor to manage their accounts after death.
Until this change, the status of Facebook accounts after death was cloudy. Families could ask the company to take down their pages but conflicts between family members sometimes arose, according to a story in the Boston Globe.
Now, the user’s legacy contact can update a memorial page including a prepared-in-advance message from the deceased.
The action comes after legislators in some states have been pushing for laws to allow family members access to a person’s digital files. Facebook and other digital media sites have opposed such legislation.