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Put Social Security to work for you

It’s National Social Security Month and this year we’re highlighting some of the time-saving features of the “my Social Security” account. Once you create an account, you’ll see that we already have your work history and secure information...

 

Social Security questions answered by the experts

Staff from Alaska’s Social Security office will be available for questions via videoconferencing at the following locations and times in April: Kodiak Job Center, on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month (April 9 and 23), 9 a.m. to noon....

 

Think your way to financial comfort

Psychology has found its way into finance, and it’s a good fit. Behavioral economists design systems that nudge people into making the right decisions. For instance, workers save significantly more when the default is paycheck deductions into...

 

Another DIY estate plan gone wrong

I recently read an interesting case; it happened in British Columbia, but it could just as easily have happened in any U.S. state. The father owned his home. He put his daughter on the title as half...

 

A new thing: Supported decision-making

I’m not a big fan of the adult guardianship system. I realize it’s necessary; there are a lot of cases in which guardianship or conservatorship is absolutely needed and there isn’t a reasonable...

 

IRA? You've got some options

Very few people have to worry about estate taxes any more. Under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, only estates worth more than $11.4 million are subject to estate tax. However even fairly small...

 

Mortality: An ounce of preparedness

As I write these words, it has been only a few days since the recent earthquake. By the time you read these words in the Senior Voice, though, it will probably be at least a month out, and most people...

 

Investing for your conscience, and pocketbook

What’s not black and white, but green all over? Environmental, social, and governance investing, or ESG. ESG investors evaluate and invest based on corporate behavior as a predicator of future financial performance. After wading into ESG investing...

 

A jug of wine, a living trust, and thou

I’m not much of an oenophile. Occasionally I might enjoy a nice glass of wine with certain foods, but I can’t tell the difference between a Merlot and a Bordeaux. But despite my lack of...

 

How much is that probate in the window?

Sometimes when we talk about a particular subject a lot, we take it for granted that people know certain background facts. I realized this recently when I was talking about the high cost of probate...

 

Still true, forsooth, after 400 years

Ask people their favorite Shakespeare play, and chances are they will name Romeo and Juliet, or perhaps Hamlet or Macbeth. A few of the cognoscenti might name something else, but they’re just...

 

Estate planning in the Trailerhood needs help

I liked Max Gruenberg. Max was a lawyer, and a long-time legislator. I did battle with him in both venues; as a trial lawyer, when we had cases against each other; and when he was in the State House...

 

Alaska is a Filial Responsibility state? Really?

You can’t believe everything you read online. You knew that already, right? For instance, I don’t know how many times I have seen a list online, showing all the community property states, and Alas...

 

The stuff you don't get can hurt you

One of the biggest problems with DIY estate planning (where you get a kit, or a program, or a form, and “do it yourself”) is that the stuff you don’t understand can ruin everything. But then,...

 

Can a debt collector take my Social Security benefits?

Dear Savvy Senior: Can my Social Security benefits be garnished if I have some outstanding debts? I just turned 62 and would like to start collecting my retirement benefits, but want to find this out before I apply. - Worried Retiree Dear Worried:...

 

Still working? Check your tax withholdings

One great result of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act is that most people see money in their paychecks, because less is being withheld. Our standard deductions have nearly doubled, and the tax rates have dipped. Those are good things. But the personal and...

 

Remember to tell Social Security you've moved

If you receive Social Security and/or Medicare, make sure you inform the Social Security Administration (SSA) when you move. That’s especially important now while the SSA is mailing out new Medicare cards. Even though the Internet is a virtual...

 

Your Social Security questions answered by the experts

Staff from Alaska’s Social Security office will be available for questions via videoconferencing at the following locations and times in June: Kodiak Job Center, on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month (June 12 and 26), 9 a.m. to noon....

 

With estate planning, you gotta know the territory

You can bicker, bicker, bicker You can talk, you can talk You can talk all you wanna But it’s different than it was. I love a good musical, and one of my favorites is The Music Man. And the...

 

An attorney is the guardian of a person's voice in court

Adult guardianship cases are kind of a big deal. And sometimes, they’re difficult. On one side you have the Respondent. This is typically someone who has some kind of dementia, mental health issue,...

 

Five things to know about deposit boxes and home safes

Over time, your valuables change, and so do your options to protect them. Here are a few choices, including safe deposit boxes and home safes, along with suggestions on how to assess each option for your specific needs. 1) Think about what should or...

 

That lawyer stuff at the end of the will

When you last signed a will, you might have noticed that after the main part of it, there was a bunch of added legal stuff. This is about that all-important added legal stuff. (Wait, you have signed a...

 

The nuts and bolts of Section 529 College Savings Plans

A good education is getting harder to come by, and that’s true not just for college but starting in kindergarten. If you are looking to help ensure your grandkids get a quality education, you might consider opening a 529 plan. If protecting your in...

 

The patient, the surrogate and the pulled plug

This is a subject which, for a lot of people, is going to touch on some very personal, and perhaps painful, circumstances. Some years back, I was involved in a case involving termination of life...

 

The new tax laws: Less of the same

Last month, I promised that I would cover the estate planning consequences of the “Tax Cuts and Jobs Act” in this month’s column. At the time that previous column was due, the final version of...

 

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