Walt’s Week in Williamsburg, Virginia: November 25th – 30th

Here are the highlights from my daily blog for last week.  If you’d like to read any blog in its entirety, just click on the link provided.  Enjoy!! 

Gift box of moneySunday, November 25, 2012

Gifting: How Much is Too Much?

How much can you realistically afford to gift without jeopardizing your own financial security? The question is complex and the right answer might be the wrong answer!

As you may know, current law allows you gift a large sum of $5 million (more than $10 million for married couples) without triggering any gift taxes. From a tax planning standpoint, there may never be a better time for you to make a large gift. But, you know that life is about more than tax planning. The real question you need to answer, if you are inclined to make substantial gifts, is whether – and how much – you can afford to give. Wealth Strategies Journal recently published an article, “How Much Can You Gift,” to help you through the decision process. Click here if you would like to read the entire blog.

Monday, November 26, 2012Stretching-to-breaking-point

Charities Struggle to Do More with Less

"Demand for nonprofit services has been skyrocketing for the last four years," says Tim Delaney, president and CEO of the National Council of Nonprofits in Washington, D.C. "Demand for services is going up, but the resources available have been going down. We are struggling to meet the demand, but we cannot continue to do so much more for so much less."

The 4th quarter of 2012 is well on its way, and typically this is a time when non-profits bring in the most donations.  Charities are feeling the full effect of the economic struggles we’ve been hit with in recent years, making this time a make-or-break giving season.  Click here if you would like to read the entire blog.  References: US News and World Report (November 12, 2012) “Nonprofits Face Challenging End-of-Year Giving Season” and The Chronicle of Philanthropy (October 29, 2012) “Average Gift by the Wealthy Has Declined Since 2009

Fighting city hallTuesday, November 27, 2012

Appeal a Denied Medicare Claim

The importance of pushing back when Medicare says no was highlighted recently by settlement of a class action lawsuit that will force Medicare to start covering skilled nursing and therapy services in institutional or home care settings – not only when patients have a demonstrated medical potential to improve, but also when they need care to maintain their current health status.

A doctor’s note can sometimes be a golden ticket – the proof you need to obtain the care for your health needs. But what happens when those needs are denied by Medicare? Roughly 10 percent of all Medicare claims are denied, which can be defeating for those who are in need of care.  But don’t fret; you have the right to fight for your coverage.

Reuters recently published an article explaining “How to appeal when Medicare won't pay.” It is not an uncomplicated process, but if Medicare refuses to pay for services your doctor recommends it’s certainly worth your while to fight.  Click here if you would like to read the entire blog.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012Stock-vector-illustration-of-family-concept-of-harmony-unity-family-values-solutions-vector-59025214

Proper Estate Planning Means Family Harmony

The body of actor Sherman Hemsley, who played George Jefferson, has been kept on ice for the last 3 1/2 months.  His remains have been refrigerated since he passed away from lung cancer on July 24, 2012, at the age of 74.

Why? It’s all because a man claiming to be his half-brother challenged the validity of Hemsley’s will in court.

Will disputes can be very messy, and oftentimes can delay important wishes laid out by the deceased. Take for example the case of the late Sherman Hemsley, as reported in a recent Forbes article titled “Court Ruling Finally Allows Body of Late Jefferson Star To ‘Move On Up’.” Hemsley’s remains rested on ice for three and a half months before he was finally put to rest. Click here if you would like to read the entire blog.

SmartgivingThursday, November 29, 2012

Prominent Philanthropists Tell All

Now there’s a website that allows your to learn from conversations with the nation’s most prominent donors: Eli Broad, Melinda Gates, Ted Turner, and about 50 other prominent philanthropists in a series of new video interviews explain the How, What, When and Where of Charitable Giving.

With the end of year in sight and the holidays fully upon us, this is the season of giving. Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to come up with causes worthy of your philanthropy, let alone those you can trust to be good stewards of your contributions.  Click here if you would like to read the entire blog.  Reference: The Chronicle of Philanthropy (November 27, 2012) “The Giveaway” and GiveSmartGiveSmart.com

Friday, November 30, 2012Elderly_hospital_h_2271159b

Elderly Parents & Their Money: It's Time for "the Talk"

Our parents may have at least $100,000 more than you think they have — you just haven't asked and they haven't answered. That's the key finding of a new survey from Fidelity Investments about how families talk (or, more often, don't) about money.

So what do you know about your parents’ finances? Chances are good your assumptions are off target, especially if you’ve pegged them on the lower end.  According to a recent study and paper produced by Fidelity Investments, there is a “vast disconnect” between elderly parents and adult children on this very point. The disconnect usually is due to a failure to communicate.

Both Reuters and Forbes addressed this matter in time for Thanksgiving, a traditional time for family gatherings. In case you missed the articles, the Reuters article was titled “Please pass the gravy, and how much are you worth?”, while the Forbes article was titled “Generations Apart: Talking Retirement And Estate Planning Over Turkey.”  Click here if you would like to read the entire blog.

Join me every day as I explore estate planning topics of interest to you and those you love from Williamsburg, Virginia.

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