What To Do When a Loved One Passes Away

Whether your spouse has just passed away or you have lost your mom or dad, the emotional trauma of losing a loved one often comes with a bewildering array of financial and legal issues demanding attention. It can be difficult enough for family members to handle the emotional trauma of a death, […]


Social Security Beneficiaries Will Receive a 2 Percent Increase in 2018

In 2018, Social Security recipients will get their largest cost of living increase in benefits since 2012, but the additional income will likely be largely eaten up by higher Medicare Part B premiums. Cost of living increases are tied to the consumer price index, and an upturn in inflation rates […]


New Yorker Article Highlights Abuses in the Guardianship System

Serious problems with the public guardianship system in the United States can lead to elder abuse, according to an in-depth article in The New Yorker titled “How the Elderly Lose their Rights.” Court-appointed guardians can take control of an elderly person’s finances and life and become wealthy while doing so. One expert interviewed describes […]


Use Your Will to Dictate How to Pay Your Debts

The main purpose of a will is to direct where your assets will go after you die, but it can also be used to instruct your heirs how to pay your debts. While generally heirs cannot inherit debt, debt can reduce what they receive. Spelling out how debt should be […]


Uncertainty Hampers Year-End Tax Planning

As of this writing, year-end tax planning is clouded by questions about federal legislation. President Trump and many of the Republicans in Congress favor changes that would affect the tax code. Currently, the success they’ll have in their efforts is difficult to predict. One undecided issue is the future of […]


Year-End Planning for Investors

Regardless of future legislation, some tried and true strategies will help investors trim their tax bill in 2017. Year-end loss harvesting can be worthwhile. Example 1: Nick Rogers tallies his investment trades so far in 2017 and discovers he has realized $30,000 worth of net capital gains: his trading profits […]


Year-End Retirement Tax Planning

If your company sponsors a 401(k) plan, your employer may offer a match. Make certain that you’re contributing at least enough in 2017 to get the full match, which is essentially free money. The same is true when you’re setting up your 2018 contributions late this year. Example 1: Jill […]


Year-End Tax Planning for Charitable Donations

Some surveys indicate that more than 30% of all charitable giving occurs in December, and that over 10% of donations are made in the last three days of the year. The year-end holiday spirit may be a factor in the early winter philanthropy, but taxes probably play a role, as […]


Year-End Business Tax Planning

IRC Section 179 permits “expensing,” or first-year tax deduction, of outlays for business equipment that otherwise would be recovered through depreciation over many years. For 2017, expensing the costs of up to $510,000 of equipment is allowed, with a phase-out beginning after $2.03 million of purchases. Example 1: ABC Corp. […]


Nursing Home Costs Rise Sharply in 2017

The median cost of a private nursing home room in the United States has increased to $97,455 a year, up 5.5 percent from 2016, according to Genworth’s 2017 Cost of Care survey, which the insurer conducts annually. Genworth reports that the median cost of a semi-private room in a nursing home […]