Friday, March 27, 2015

National Healtcare Decision Day - Part 3

April 16th is National Healthcare Decision Day.

For the past two weeks, we've discussed Healthcare Powers of Attorney, their importance and the family benefits they and other similar documents provide.  This blog discusses a few practical matters.

Do Something - Now

Estate planning is one task that is very easy to avoid.  There is always something else that is more
urgent, more interesting and more fun.  I know.  I delayed for years, myself.  But a little cardiac scare was my catalyst.

My wife and I went to a respected local attorney who specializes in estate planning.  He looked at what we had done and though we had put all of our assets in joint tenancy with right of survivor-ship, that was less than half of what we needed to do  It seems that if my wife and I died in a common accident, mostly everything would be distributed through the wills, which must be probated to let the kids sell the house and distribute other assets.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

National Healthcare Decision Day - Part 2

April 16th is National Healthcare Decision Day.

Last week, we brought up the benefits of a Healthcare Power of Attorney, not only for yourself and your elderly parents, but also for your adult children.  This week, we will explore the family and psychological benefits of having not only a Healthcare Power of Attorney but other documents that will speak for us when we no longer can speak for ourselves.

Those We Leave Behind

Thursday, March 12, 2015

National Healthcare Decision Day - Part 1

April 16th is National Healthcare Decision day.  It's a day to remind us to plan ahead and make sure that if we can't speak for ourselves, that somebody has the authority to speak on our behalf and make sure that our wishes about healthcare are known.
When this topic comes up, most of us automatically think about the elderly and "Do Not Resuscitate" directives.  Certainly that is a part of the topic, but the subject is much broader.  It impacts both young and old, family relationships and the psychological health of family members or friends who have to make decisions for a person who isn't able to express his or her wishes at a critical time.  This blog and the next two after will explore these issues.

It's Not Just For the Old

Friday, February 27, 2015

Is Your Personal Data Worth $35K?

When we hear about security breaches of big businesses, we understand immediately that there must be some value to the data they store, even if it's only email addresses the hackers get. But we rarely think about the value of our personal data sitting on our own digital devices.

To be quite honest, I've never really thought about it myself.  I know the information and Apps I use on my devices are very valuable to me personally.  I love the fact that I can access information at the push of a couple of buttons and love the convenience of being able to access information from anywhere.  But you have to wonder, with the rise in malware and viruses on phones and tablets, what is it that hackers find so valuable?  Why and how can so many companies and individuals afford to offer free Apps and push us to download the latest mind numbing game?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Getting to a Better Digital Estate via Facebook's Legacy Contact Feature

Post-death access to digital assets is a hot topic due to the unresolved tensions between online service provider privacy terms that users agree to and their heirs’ rights and access to their remaining digital “footprints.”    

Last week, Facebook made headlines with its launch of an additional feature that allows members to designate other members as beneficiaries for—partial—postmortem account access. Most media outlets and pundits agreed that the additional controls are a step in the right direction. The announcement adds poignancy to the broader growing issue of claiming digital assets after death. 

Monday, February 16, 2015

Life Events & Records - Divorce

Divorce isn't something that I've experienced personally--thank goodness!  But sadly, many people have.


Elissa Goldberg, a divorce attorney in Bucks County PA, recently shared with us that there are many documents that people need to provide during the divorce process.

Sometimes, depending on how difficult the divorce is, those documents are hard for one party in the divorce to provide because either the other person has (or had) them, the documents cannot be easily found, or the documents aren't provided out of spite. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

3 Rules for Communicating Securely with Your Tax Preparer

Justifiably Appalled

It's been quite a few years since this happened, but I remember getting my completed tax returns emailed to me by my accountant.  No encryption, no security.  Just my social security number, income, address and dependent social security numbers out there for any hacker to view.  You can imagine my reaction.

That will not happen again - at least to me.  But as most of the US population gets ready for the annual tax preparation extravaganza, and we get really rushed for time,  we might be tempted to cut a few security corners.  

Here is some advice.  Don't.


Here are 3 things to NEVER do and alternative ways to stay secure