Many seniors ‘hiring’ their children to take care of them

As people get older, they often hire people to perform services for them, such as housekeeping, cooking, driving, paying bills and personal care. But what’s new is that a lot of seniors are hiring their own children. They’re signing contracts with the children specifying what services will be performed and how much the children will be paid.

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Who’s entitled to overtime? It’s not always clear

Although the U.S. government has required employers to pay their workers overtime ever since the 1930s, it’s still unclear in many cases whether certain workers are eligible. A big reason is that the nature of people’s jobs and the workplace itself continues to evolve…so new questions keep coming up about eligibility. For instance, the federal overtime law says that workers don’t have to be paid overtime if they have “administrative” jobs, which are jobs that involve

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How to keep heirs from squabbling over personal property

When it comes to making a will, most people have a sense of how they want to divide their major financial assets among their heirs. But people often don’t put much thought into how to divide their personal property – particularly property that isn’t worth much economically but is rich in sentimental value, such as a wedding dress, a war medal, or a photo album.

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Make sure prenuptial agreements are reviewed by an estate planner

If you’re thinking of signing a prenuptial agreement – or if you know someone who is – it’s a good idea to have an estate planner review the document. Most people think of prenuptial agreements as spelling out what will happen if a couple get divorced. But in fact, most prenuptial agreements also state what will happen if one spouse dies while the couple is still married. In actual practice, prenuptial agreements come into play as much as

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Congress changes tax on children’s investment income

Congress has changed the “kiddie tax” – the tax that must be paid on children’s investment income.  If any of your planning involves gifts to children, you might want to reconsider your strategy in light of the changes. In the past, the “kiddie tax” provided that if a child under age 14 had investment income above a certain amount – the income was taxed at the parent’s tax rate, not the child’s tax rate (assuming the

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Moving to another state can create estate planning benefits

People often move to another state after they retire. In the past, this was usually to take advantage of a better climate or to be closer to friends and family. But these days, moving is often a good form of estate planning. One reason is state estate taxes. These used to be tied closely into the federal estate tax system and largely a non-issue. But for several years now state estate taxes have been “uncoupled” from

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How to plan your estate if you have a special needs child

Almost three million children in the U.S. between the ages of 5 and 15 have special needs, according to the latest Census figures.  Parents of these children need to use extra care in planning their estates. For most people, estate planning is about making sure your assets go where you want them to, and minimizing inconvenience and taxes along the way.  But parents of special needs children face an additional challenge because they have to make

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Office rents nosedive; vacancies see historic increase

Office rents nationwide declined 8.5 percent in the third quarter of 2009 compared to the previous year, according to Reis, Inc., a real estate research firm. At the same time, office vacancies rose. At the end of the third quarter, tenants were leasing some 19.6 million square feet less than at the beginning, according to Reis. For the first three quarters of 2009, the net reduction in rented office space was 64.2 million square feet, the

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Check the zoning rules before you buy a property

It can be a great idea to buy a “fixer-upper” – as long as you’re sure the local zoning rules will allow you to actually fix it up. Unfortunately, many people have bought a home or other property with the idea of remodeling it to their tastes, only to discover that what they had in mind is against the law.

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Landlord collects rent despite tenant’s bankruptcy

Two days before a commercial landlord in Nebraska was to receive a $90,000 rent payment for some cropland, the tenant filed for bankruptcy. What happens? Can the landlord still collect? The law is somewhat unclear, but in this case a federal appeals court sided with the landlord and ruled that the tenant had to pay the entire $90,000. The tenant was a business and it filed a Chapter 11 reorganization bankruptcy (as opposed to liquidating under

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