An estate plan consists of numerous documents that compliment your living trust. If you are not familiar with your estate planning binder, it can be difficult and frustrating to figure out what each document is and what purpose it serves. Here is a quick description of the most common documents contained in your estate plan. If you are missing any of this paperwork, it is important to have your estate plan reviewed and updated.
A good estate plan typically includes a Health Directive where you appoint a trusted friend or family member to not only make medical decisions for you, but to also take care of how your remains are handled at your death.
If the New Windows is Too Hard to Use, Try Linux
The greatest generation and baby boomers didn’t grow with computer technology, so sometimes it is difficult for seniors to work with computers. It’s hard to understand the hardware, operating systems, and software. Windows seems to be getting more complicated with each new release. If you are setting up a new computer or want to try something easier to use, perhaps you should consider Linux as the operating system for you. Linux would replace Windows, but allow you do the same things with fewer steps.
Linux is not as difficult to use as people may think. If you are only using your computer to send emails or surf the web, then Linux is a better choice than Windows because it is simpler to use. Linux is now easier than ever to install and the desktop can be set up to something you are familiar with using.
Linux works well on older computers. Windows usually needs newer computer hardware to run the operating system and applications with fewer problems. Linux is more in-tune to older computer software because code developers keep this in mind when creating the program. So even if you are using an older computer, you will not need to spend more money to upgrade.
Ever feel like your computer is running slow? With Windows, you need to do an update but you don’t know how; Linux can perform automatic updates. You can set up Linux operating systems to perform updates as they arrive, which means you do not need to be present or remember to click a button. Usually during a windows update you do not have access to your system and need to wait an unspecified amount of time until the update is complete. With Linux, if it is set up for automatic updates, it will download and install in the background while you finish your activities.
Linux is free to use. You may have heard the term “you get what you pay for”. That is not the case here. Many people believe software should be for the masses and have been donating their time for decades to get different distributions of Linux to where it is today. Don’t be shy, give Linux a try.
You may think of video games as an activity for teenagers to pass the time; something for kids, but not really for adults. Did you know that more than 25% of gamers are over age 50, and over 40% are female? Today video games are for everyone, including seniors. There are a variety of games that assist with physical fitness and cognitive function. If you liked games as a child, then it’s just the case of finding the right game for you as an adult.
Have You Received Your New Medicare Card?
Now that new Medicare ID cards are being sent out, there are more opportunities for criminals to steal money and vital information from you. Ironically, the new Medicare cards, which are meant to reduce theft of social security numbers by replacing them with an 11-digit code, has opened the door for new scams against seniors.
Social Security is issuing the new cards between April 2018 and April 2019. You may have already received your card. Whether you have received your Medicare card or not, there are ways to protect yourself from being scammed.
The scam begins with a scammer calling, emailing, or approaching you, stating that in order to receive your new Medicare card, you will need to make a payment, state your social security number, or give other vital pieces of information, like bank account or credit card numbers. They may state some personal information about you, such as your address, to make it appear legitimate. They may also ask for your “group number”, which is actually your social security number. They may even say your healthcare coverage will be canceled.
This is not the case. You will receive your new Medicare card in the mail and no payment or information is required from you. There are no processing fees for Medicare cards. A Medicare representative will only contact you the through mail. Once you receive your new Medicare card, shred the old card. If stolen, it can be used to impersonate you.
There are also scams involving medical supply companies and/or open enrollment periods. The same rules apply. You should not give out any personal information if you are contacted through email, phone calls, or if a salesperson comes to your personal residence. And do not be pressured into “acting now” for better prices, gifts, etc. You can make a decision any time during open enrollment.
If your Medicare card is stolen (or lost), you can request a new card. You can do this by calling the Social Security Administration at 1-800-772-1213. You can also request a new card at Social Security’s website, www.myssa.gov. Or you can always request a card in-person at your local Social Security office.
The bottom line is if anyone calls you and asks for payment, social security information, or bank account information, it is always a scam and you should hang up. The real phone number for Medicare is on the back of your Medicare card. When in doubt, you should call Medicare directly.
If you are a victim of any scam, you should contact your bank immediately and also contact one of the three credit reporting companies (Equifax, Experian, or TransUnion) to put a freeze on your credit. You can also contact the AARP Fraud hotline at 1-877-908-3360.
Technology can be difficult for seniors. Often, technology developers don’t keep older adults in mind when creating a product. Many of us, not just seniors, would enjoy bigger buttons on our phones and tablets, easy to use reminders and well-lit screens. Although many seniors shy away from using modern day devices, some items can improve their daily lives. Every senior should try to use a cell phone, a medication management system and a medical alert system.
It is an incredibly stressful and traumatic experience to have a loved one face a serious medical issue and hospitalization. In the moment, you are focused on the minute-to-minute recovery, and not necessarily thinking about what happens when your loved one is well enough to leave the hospital. However, it is important to prepare for next steps.
In recent years, seniors and many others have fallen victim to email scams. These scams prey on the victims’ trust, and allow them to move forward with fraudulent transactions. Although there are many different email scams, here are two popular scams to watch out for.
Fake telemarketing is a billion dollar business for scammers and the large majority of the victims are over the age of 50. Phone scams target seniors because older adults are twice as likely to make a purchase over the telephone. Learn more about a couple of popular scams.
The biggest tax reform in twenty years was passed on Dec 22, 2017 known as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). It makes fundamental changes in the way families and businesses calculate their federal income tax bills, and most individual provisions stay in effect from 2018 through 2025. Learn more…