Archive for Educational Funding

A Letter to Remember by Paul E. Ferraresi

Complete your estate plan with this one last bit of paperwork

The most common thing people talk about at the end of their lives is Regret. Regret that they haven’t spoken enough loving words to their spouse, or told their children how much they cared, or apologize for doing something hurtful, or thanked that special friend. It’s not too late as long as you can still put pen on paper. Think about writing your family or best friends a “last letter”, showing what’s in your heart. Your words will make their lives a little better.

It’s often tough to get started on such a letter especially when you’re still healthy and don’t feel an immediate needs but there’s help. The Stanford Letter Project, founded by Periyakoil, offers a friends-and-family template letter for your thoughts, as well as suggestions on what to include. You’ll find the temple and sample letter at http://med.stanford.edu/letter/friendsandfamily.html

A last letter from you should be one of love and Reconciliation, not spite. Death does not end your responsibility to those you leave behind. Finally remember to thank people for the love and care that you have received and say goodbye.

While you are at it , you know, a kind note to be given to a loved one today, not after you are gone, would uplift their day and yours.

Sales of Surplus Items by Paul E. Ferraresi

Most of the online purchases that are returned each year get restocked by the original seller. But some are handled by online liquidators such as Bling or Bulq, which resell surplus and “gently used” apparel, household goods, electronics and other merchandise at up to 70% off retail. For pallets of goods or truckload-sized lots, find bigger savings from B-Stock Solutions, Liquidation.com and Via Trading.

Are you really as fit as you think?

Many people take an active approach to their health but do not have a way to measure how successful they are. I have found two(2) sites that via an online questionnaire may answer how you are doing. The first site, www.Livingto100.com , asks about your eating , exercise, and family history. It will give you a measure of how long you will live ( keep in mind you could get hit by a truck tomorrow and die). I was happy to see I am expected to live to 108.

The second site, www.worldfitnesslevel.org , was developed by Norwegian doctors. You will need all 3 blood pressure readings, amount of exercise and your lifestyle habits. It will calculate your body’s fitness age. I am approaching 70, in a few weeks, and it recorded my body’s fitness age at 47.

Take the tests. If you do not get the numbers you want they provide suggestions to make improvements.

I would be curious as to what you found out in your results.
Good luck !!!!

Advance directives and an in-hospital DNR

Each state has different rules( using Texas rules here) but here are three advance directives to communicate your medical wishes and to designate your spokesperson: 1) a Directive to Physicians (the so-called Living Will), 2) a Medical Power of Attorney, and 3) an Out-of-Hospital Do-Not-Resuscitate (OOH-DNR) Order. Lawyers typically include the first two in basic estate planning packages. Only doctors can complete the third.
The Directive to Physicians applies when you cannot communicate and have a terminal or irreversible condition. The standard choices are withhold life support or do not withhold life support. Custom language is allowed, e.g., let my doctor and my agent decide together.

The Medical Power of Attorney applies when your doctor certifies you are incompetent to make medical decisions. The agent is supposed to communicate the decision you would have made.

The OOH- DNR allows you to refuse CPR, airway management, ventilation, and cardiac pacing or defibrillation. It applies to nursing homes, clinic, and other out of Hospital settings, e.g., home or a restaurant. (www.dshs.texas.gov/emstraumasystems/dnr.shtm).

DNRs are not just for the terminally ill. Skilled nursing and assisted living facilities tend to offer them to all new residents, not just the sick ones. Cardiac patients who live at home may also have a DNR. These people have not given up hope, but are skeptical about being revived with CPR or sustained on a ventilator. Many lead happy normal lives. They take their vitamins, see their doctors and get flu shots.

DNR patients also go to the hospital. When transported a copy of the OOH- DNR must go with the patient. The OOH-DNR is effective in the emergency room. It is not effective once the patient is admitted to the hospital.

Mistakes in Estate Planning

No one knows when they are going to die. Most people feel they have ample time to make preparations, but, too often people die prematurely. Here are some typical estates planning errors I have seen in my career.
1) No will or trust.
2) Not updating beneficiaries in the will or trust.
3) Not updating beneficiary designations on IRA/401K or other qualified plans (especially after a death or divorce).
4) Not having a list of usernames, passwords, and answers to “secret questions”. This list needs to be available to spouse or executor of your estate.
5) Not notifying the 3 credit agencies immediately so no one can claim identity of the deceased. Unscrupulous people check obituaries and then try to apply for credit cards in the name of the deceased.
6) Not requesting at least 20 original death certificates with raised seals to unlock insurance benefits, investment accounts, Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid benefits (some people say, but, all my accounts are JTWROS. You still must provide proof of the death).
7) Not preparing for higher automobile insurance rates when one spouse dies (since the risk is higher for only one person).
8) If the deceased was the owner of a credit card and the spouse was a user, then the accounts will be cancelled. Consider having separate cards.
9) Special collectables like guns and sports cars need to have all the paperwork available to sell or transfer the title.
10) Not having an accurate summary of ALL your finances.
The list goes on and on.
Sit with your financial advisor to get started on it today, not tomorrow.