When peace of mind matters most

PLANNING FOR A BRIGHT FUTURE

Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Legal Gangsters: Netflix’s I Care a Lot Uncovers the Dark Side of Legal Guardianship—Part 2

The Netflix movie I Care a Lot provides a dark, violent, and somewhat comedic take on the real life and not-at-all funny dangers of the legal (and sometimes corrupt) guardianship system. While the film’s twisting plot may seem farfetched, it sheds light on a tragic phenomenon—the abuse of seniors at the hands of crooked “professional” guardians. Last week in part one of this series,  we offered a brief synopsis of the movie, which revolves around Marla Grayson, a crooked professional guardian who makes her living by preying on vulnerable seniors, and we then outlined the true events that inspired the

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

6 Ways The American Rescue Plan Can Boost Your Family’s Finances—Part 2

Signed into law on March 11th, President Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARP) is the largest direct-to-taxpayer stimulus legislation ever passed. In addition to extending unemployment relief, the ARP provides individual taxpayers and small business owners with a number of other vital financial benefits aimed at helping the country rebound from last year’s economic issues. Of these benefits, you’ve likely already seen one of the ARP’s leading elements—the $1,400 direct stimulus payments, which went to taxpayers, children, and dependents with incomes of less than $75,000 for individuals and $150,000 for joint filers. But beyond the stimulus,

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

7 Ways To Save Big Money On Your 2020 Taxes-Part 1

2020 was a nightmarish year for many families. But thanks to recent legislation, you could see a silver lining in the form of major tax breaks when filing your income taxes this spring. First up, although it’s technically not a tax break, the IRS announced this week that the deadline for filing your 2020 federal income taxes has been pushed back from April 15 to May 17, 2021, which gives you an extra month to get your tax return handled.  The postponement applies to individual taxpayers, including those who pay self-employment taxes. But the extension does not apply to first-quarter

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Larry King’s Death Highlights the Importance of Updating Your Estate Plan for Divorce and Death—Part 2
Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Larry King’s Death Highlights the Importance of Updating Your Estate Plan for Divorce and Death—Part 2

Legendary TV and radio host, Larry King, died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on January 23rd, 2021 at age 87. Larry was hospitalized in December due to COVID-19, but he’d recently been moved from the ICU to a regular hospital room after recovering from the virus. However, the famed broadcaster suffered from a number of other health conditions over the years, including multiple heart attacks, kidney failure, and diabetes, and he passed away from sepsis that was the result of an unrelated infection. Last week, in part one of this series, we discussed how Larry’s decision to create

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Larry King’s Death Highlights the Importance of Updating Your Estate Plan for Divorce and Death—Part 1
Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Larry King’s Death Highlights the Importance of Updating Your Estate Plan for Divorce and Death—Part 1

Legendary TV and radio host, Larry King, died at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles on January 23rd, 2021 at age 87. Larry was hospitalized in December due to COVID-19, but he’d recently been moved from the ICU to a regular hospital room after recovering from the virus. However, the famed broadcaster suffered from a number of other health conditions over the years, including multiple heart attacks, kidney failure, and diabetes, and he passed away from sepsis that was the result of an unrelated infection. With a career spanning more than half a century, Larry became the most famous interviewer

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Managing Your Digital Afterlife: A Guide To Facebook’s Legacy Contact
Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Managing Your Digital Afterlife: A Guide To Facebook’s Legacy Contact

If you use Facebook to share, track, and report on important life events, it can provide an  intimate snapshot of your life, and it can also serve as a key part of your legacy—and one you’ll likely want to protect following your death. With this in mind, as with any other digital asset you own, you should include your Facebook profile as part of your estate plan. While you’ll want to include your Facebook profile in your plan’s inventory of digital assets, Facebook also offers a special function, known as a “legacy contact,” for managing your profile after death. Using

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

New Developments Transform the Role Life Insurance Plays in Your Estate and Financial Planning

Within the past year, a combination of new legislation and the recent change of leadership in the White House and Congress stands to dramatically increase the income taxes your loved ones will have to pay on inherited retirement accounts as well as increasing the income taxes you owe on your taxable investments. However, purchasing life insurance may offer you the opportunity to minimize the effect of these developments. To this end, if you hold assets in a retirement account, you need to review your financial plan and estate plan as soon as possible to determine if investing in life insurance

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Does Your Estate Plan Protect Your Intellectual Property?

If you own a business, you almost certainly have intellectual property. However, because your intellectual property is intangible, it can be invisible to you and those who aren’t familiar with the nature of intellectual property and its value, so it often gets overlooked, especially when it comes to estate planning. Yet, if you fail to properly document your intellectual property, your estate plan will likely not protect it—and this could cause your loved ones to miss out on what can be among your most valuable assets. When we talk about intellectual property, we’re referring to creations of the mind, including

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Moving To A New State? Remember to Update Your Estate Plan

Although you likely won’t need to have an entirely new estate plan prepared for you, upon relocating to another state, you should definitely have your existing plan reviewed by an estate planning lawyer who is familiar with your new home state’s laws. Each state has its own laws governing estate planning, and those laws can differ significantly from one location to another. Given this, you’ll want to make sure your planning documents all comply with the new state’s laws, and the terms of those documents still work as intended. Here, we’ll discuss how differing state laws can affect common planning

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

5 Tips For Keeping Kids Connected With Grandparents During the Pandemic

While the quarantines, shutdowns, and social distancing measures related to the pandemic have been difficult for everyone, the elderly have been particularly hard hit. Since seniors face the most health risks from COVID-19, most of them have been careful to avoid close contact with their family members, and this has left many grandparents unable to visit with their grandchildren for close to a year now. This loss of in-person connection for such an extended period of time can cause people to feel isolated and lonely, which can eventually lead to mental health issues like depression. At the same time, children

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

What You Should Know About Long-Term Care Insurance

With people living longer than ever before, more and more seniors require long-term healthcare services in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. However, such care is extremely expensive, especially when it’s needed for extended periods of time. Traditional healthcare insurance doesn’t cover such services, and though Medicare does pay for some long-term care, it’s quite limited, difficult to qualify for, and requires you to deplete nearly all of our assets before being eligible (or do proactive planning to shield your assets, which we can support you with). To address this gap in coverage, long-term care insurance was created. Intensive Care

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh Dies Without A Will—Part 2

Last week in part one of this series (Part One) we discussed how Tony Hsieh became an Internet pioneer, starting two wildly successful companies, LinkExchange and Zappos, the latter of which he sold to Amazon for $1.2 billion. It was as CEO of the online shoe brand Zappos where Hsieh developed his vision for life and business: delivering happiness. A Double Life Hsieh outlined this mission in the 2010 book, Delivering Happiness: A Path To Profits, Passion and Purpose, which became a New York Times number-one bestseller. Yet while the young entrepreneur was busy bringing joy to his customers, employees,

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Former Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh Dies Without A Will—Part 1

On November 27th, nine days after being pulled unconscious from a house fire in a beachfront home in New London, Connecticut, Tony Hsieh, the former CEO of the online shoe retailer Zappos, died due to complications of smoke inhalation. Hsieh, who was single and had no children, was just 46. Although the cause of the fire is still under investigation, law enforcement ruled his death accidental. At the time of his death, Hsieh was worth an estimated $840 million, but in spite of his immense wealth, it seems he did not have a will. While it’s not uncommon for the

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Questions to Consider Before Hiring an Estate Planning Lawyer – Part 2

Last week we looked at two questions to ask before hiring an estate planning lawyer.  Choosing a lawyer can be empowering if done right.  Discussing these sensitive topics does not have to be morbid or intimidating. Here are three more questions to ask before hiring an estate planning lawyer. How will you proactively communicate with me on an ongoing basis? The sad truth is lawyers don’t always do a good job of staying in regular communication with their clients. Often, they don’t have their business systems set up for ongoing, proactive communication, and they don’t have the time to really

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Questions to Consider Before Hiring an Estate Planning Lawyer – Part 1

You may think that hiring an estate planning lawyer may be intimidating or morbid because you will be topics like death and incapacity and other dire scenarios.  But it doesn’t have to be that way. Instead, it can be the most empowering decision you ever make for yourself and your loved ones. The key to transforming the experience of hiring a lawyer from one that you dread into one that empowers you is to educate yourself first. This is the person who is going to be there for your family when you can’t be, so you want to really understand

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Remarrying In Midlife? Avoid Accidently Disinheriting Your Loved Ones

Today, roughly one in four divorces involve those over 50, and divorce rates for this demographic have doubled in the past 30 years, according to the study Gray Divorce Revolution. For those over age 65, divorce rates have tripled.  Indeed, the trend of couples getting divorced after age 50 has grown so common, it’s even garnered its own nickname: “gray divorce.” With divorce coming later in life, the financial fallout can be quite devastating. Indeed, Bloomberg.com found that the standard of living for women who divorce after age 50 drops by some 45%, while it falls roughly 21% for men.

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

6 Things You Should NOT Include In Your Will

A will is one of the most basic estate planning tools. While relying solely on a will is rarely a suitable option for most people, just about every estate plan includes this key document in one form or another. A will is used to designate how you want your assets distributed to your surviving loved ones upon your death. If you die without a will, state law governs how your assets are distributed, which may or may not be in line with your wishes. That said, not all assets can (or should) be included in your will. For this reason,

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Getting Divorced? Don’t Overlook These 4 Updates to Your Estate Plan—Part 2

Going through divorce can be an overwhelming experience that impacts nearly every facet of your life, including estate planning. Yet, with so much to deal with during the divorce process, many people forget to update their plan or put it off until it’s too late. Failing to update your plan before, during, and after your divorce can have a number of potentially tragic consequences, some of which you’ve likely not considered. If you are in the midst of a divorce, and your divorce lawyer has not brought up estate planning, there are several things you need to know. First off,

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Getting Divorced? Don’t Overlook These 4 Updates to Your Estate Plan—Part 1

Going through divorce can be an overwhelming experience that impacts nearly every facet of your life, including estate planning. Yet, with so much to deal with during the divorce process, many people forget to update their plan or put it off until it’s too late. Failing to update your plan for divorce can have a number of potentially tragic consequences, some of which you’ve likely not considered.  If you are in the midst of a divorce, there are several things you need to consider. First off, you need to update your estate plan, not only after your divorce is final,

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Black Panther Star Chadwick Boseman Dies Without A Will – Part 2

On October 15th, nearly two months after the death of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, his wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, filed documents with the Los Angeles probate court seeking to be named administrator of his estate. Earlier this year, Boseman and Ledward were married, and the marriage gives Ledward the right to any assets held in Boseman’s name at his death. Boseman died at age 43 on August 28th following a four-year battle with colon cancer, and based on the court documents, it seems the young actor died without a will. While Boseman’s failure to create a will is surprising,

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Black Panther Star Chadwick Boseman Dies Without A Will

 On October 15th, nearly two months after the death of Black Panther star Chadwick Boseman, his wife, Taylor Simone Ledward, filed documents with the Los Angeles probate court seeking to be named administrator of his estate. Earlier this year, Boseman and Ledward were married, and the marriage gives Ledward the right to any assets held in Boseman’s name at his death. Boseman died at age 43 on August 28th following a four-year battle with colon cancer, and based on the court documents, it seems the young actor died without a will. While Boseman’s failure to create a will is surprising,

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

CORONAVIRUS TAX CUTS. THE SILVER LINING.

Is it really time to start thinking about filing your 2020 taxes?  2020 is a particularly important year to start planning. In 2020, we have to consider inflation.  The Coronavirus Aid Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act provides individual taxpayers several new tax breaks, most of which will only be available for the 2020 tax year.  The sooner you know about the changes, the better your planning. Here are 6 ways your return may differ this year: Waived RMDs. If you’re 72 or older, you are generally required to take a required minimum distribution (RMD) from your IRA, 401(k) or

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

ESTATE PLANNING FOR YOUNG ADULTS

Why do young adults, as early as 18, need estate planning?  And why should it be a priority for you and them?   Here’s why:  the minute a person turns 18, they become legal adults and you, the parent, no longer have the legal authority to make decisions for them.  And you don’t have legal access to their financial accounts. With you no longer in charge, your young adult could become incredibly vulnerable.  For example if they encounter an illness that renders them incapacitated, such as COVID-19, having a plan in place could literally save their lives. Medical Power of Attorney

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

FOUND $$$

Rarely does a person work for a single employer for decades until retirement. Most people are likely to changes jobs multiple times during their lifetime. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, workers have held an average of 12 jobs by the time they reach their 50s. With so many job changes, it is easy to see you might lose track of an old 401(k) or retirement account, especially if you only worked in a position for a short time. In fact, forgetting plans is quite common: it’s estimated that roughly 900,000 workers lose track of their 401(k) plans each

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

DO YOU NEED A “GO-BAG?”

DO YOU NEED A “GO-BAG?” Go-bags originated with the US military which requires personnel to keep one on hand packed with essentials for survival. Over the past few weeks we’ve experienced deadly forest fires in California, Arizona and Colorado.  The East and Gulf coasts have suffered hurricanes and tropical storms.  The Midwest has endured tornados and floods.  And on top of all of that, we are still amid the COVID-19 pandemic.  It’s best to prepare for your family’s safety now. Here are some updated items that you may need in your 2020 go-bag. Your updated estate planning and healthcare documents

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

ARE WE THERE YET? ESTATE PLANNING FOR LGBTQ COUPLES

There is a case pending before the US Supreme Court which is on the docket for October 2020.  Fulton v. City of Philadelphia.  A religious-based adoption agency had contracted with the City of Philadelphia and agreed to abide by its anti-discrimination laws.  Regardless, the agency refused to license same-gender couples as foster parents.  The City refused to renew their contract and the agency sued the City.  The lower courts found that the City’s regulation was not a targeted attack on religion. Currently, 11 states allow state licensed adoption agencies to refuse to grant an adoption if doing so violates the

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Estate Planning
Donna Jewett

Avoid These 4 Mistakes When Naming Life Insurance Beneficiaries

You may have life insurance as part of your estate plan. When naming your beneficiaries, there are mistakes you can make that could lead to potentially dire consequences for the very people you’re trying to protect and support. The following four mistakes are among the most common we see clients make when selecting life insurance beneficiaries. If you’ve made any of these errors, contact us right away, so we can amend your policy to ensure its proceeds provide the maximum benefit for those you love most. Failing to name a beneficiary.  Although it would seem like common sense far too

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