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Retirement home can force resident to move to higher level of care

A retirement community can force one of its residents to move from a private apartment to a smaller assisted-living unit, a federal court has ruled. Sally Herriot, 90, is a resident of Channing House, a continuing care retirement community in Palo Alto, California. Like many such communities, Channing House provides three levels of care – independent living, assisted living, and skilled nursing. After moving to the facility with her now-deceased husband in 1991, Ms. Herriot lived

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Who should be your retirement plan beneficiary?

Picking a retirement plan beneficiary is a key step in estate planning.  Every year we hear about people who lost out on enormous tax savings by picking the wrong beneficiary.  So how do you decide whom to pick? Most married people will choose their spouse.  This is usually a good idea because the spouse can take distributions from the plan if he or she needs the money.  The spouse can also roll the account over into

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Uncertain market makes prepaid 529 plans more attractive

With the stock market down significantly, some parents are looking at safer ways to save for a child’s college education. Prepaid 529 plans offer parents (and other family members) the opportunity to lock in tuition at today’s rates. Up until now, traditional 529 savings plans have been more popular. These traditional plans allow parents or other family members to invest money for a child’s education tax-free, usually in mutual funds. But prepaid plans are gaining ground

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Why now is a good time for sophisticated estate planning

All of us are affected by the economic recession, but you should know that certain estate planning techniques become must more valuable when asset prices plunge – so this is a good time to take advantage of them. Some of the best estate planning ideas involve giving a partial interest in your assets to your heirs now, while retaining effective control over the assets.  The idea is to get these interests out of your estate now

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What happens if you die without a will?

We all know we’re supposed to do estate planning, but not all of us get around to it. So what happens if you don’t have a will when you die? Your estate will be distributed according to state laws, which may or may not conform to the way you want your assets and possessions to be distributed. Each state has laws that determine what will happen if a person dies without a will. If you’re married,

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Smart ways to help adult children through troubled financial times

Many older people are watching their grown children struggling through difficult times, facing unemployment, investment losses, difficulty in keeping up with a mortgage and other issues.  These parents want to help their children financially – but they want to do so in a tax-smart way that’s consistent with their overall estate plan.  Here are some ideas to consider:  Annual gifts to children’s spouses: Suppose your daughter is doing well financially, but your son has lost his

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What the recession will mean for long-term care

The current economic downturn isn’t going to change the needs of seniors for help with the activities of daily living. However, it could have a big effect on how and where that help is provided – at home, in an assisted living facility, or in a nursing home. And it could affect who provides the care – family members or hired staff.

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Grooming policy for employees may be illegal

Can an employer adopt a grooming policy that requires male workers who have contact with customers to be clean-shaven and have trimmed hair? Maybe … but this might amount to religious discrimination, according to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. The worker in this case was a technician at a Jiffy Lube service station. He was a Rastafarian and his religion did not permit him to shave or cut his hair. The company told him that if

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Nursing home employees could be sued – despite contract

The family of a patient who died in a nursing home could sue the nurses who took care of her – even though the patient’s contract with the home said that the home couldn’t be sued and any complaints had to go to arbitration instead. The family claimed that three nurses ignored warning signs of the patient’s heart problem, and she died as a result. The contract said that the family couldn’t sue the home. However,

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Why a recession is a good time for estate planning

All of us are affected by the economic recession, but you should know that certain estate planning techniques become much more valuable when asset prices plunge – so this is a good time to take advantage of them. Some of the best estate planning strategies involve giving a partial interest in your assets to your heirs now, while retaining effective control over the assets. The idea is to get these partial interests out of your estate

Read More »
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