Monday, March 21, 2016

We all want to be remembered, to feel that we’ve contributed something to the world. For some, this can be a driving force leading to great accomplishments and extraordinary contributions to mankind. But for most of us with more modest goals, what pushes us is the desire to leave a legacy.

Your legacy is putting your stamp on the future. It’s a way to make some meaning of your existence: “Yes, world of the future, I was here. Here’s my contribution, here’s why I hope my life mattered.”

There are many ways you can leave a legacy. The most obvious, of course, is bequesting an inheritance to your survivors through your last will and testament.
But your legacy is about far more than material things.

Your neice or nephew will be teaching their daughter or son how to make that family dish, and will flash back to the time you taught them that same technique. That’s also a legacy.

Most of what we leave our children and grandchildren are memories – of who we are and what mattered to us. We provide this legacy by being with our loved ones and through our relationships.

But you can do more than just serve as a good role model. You can take a more active approach to leaving a legacy. Here are four ways to do it:

Provide a family history Researching your genealogy is a wonderful way to let your kids and grandkids understand where you and they came from.
Track your brood with specialized genealogy websites, like and Then invite the next generation to add their branches of the family tree in the future.

Add your personal story to the genealogy record by including anecdotes and feelings. Describe your relationships with your parents and grandparents, aunts and uncles, siblings and children.

Doing this will enrich the bare facts and timeline, providing color so your heirs and survivors can know what it really felt like to live during your years. That’s a legacy no one else can provide.

Give to charity Another way to leave a legacy is by contributing money or the equivalent to a charitable cause that reflects your values.

You could create a meaningful gifting plan so your kids and grandkids will receive money while you’re alive, allowing you to watch them benefit from your generosity.
Wealthier people can create a charitable foundation or a trust that provides ongoing distributions, so the gift has more lasting value.

For example, you can endow a scholarship to your alma mater for future students. Most colleges have development offices to help you set up this program. Many require at least $25,000 for an ongoing trust, but that money doesn’t have to go to the school right away; it can be left in your will.

Write a legacy letter Think about everything you’d want to tell your loved ones and your survivors if you knew you didn’t have long to live then put it all in a letter to them.

I’m not talking about the kinds of things you want the executor of your will to know such as your funeral and memorial wishes, your Social Security number, where your financial accounts are held and your digital passwords. No, your legacy letter is a way to speak directly to your loved ones and say all those things you wish you had told them earlier. Tell your grandson how much it meant to you to be at his birth and how sad you are that you won’t be able to watch him grow.

This letter can be a way to ensure your spouse or partner knows how much joy your relationship brought and that you hope he or she will find happiness after you’re gone.

Prepare an ethical will An ethical will is the logical extension of a legacy letter. With an origin going back to centuries of elders orally conveying their values to the next generation, an ethical will lets you share the meaning of your life, beliefs and life lessons.

There are no strict rules governing an ethical will because it’s a nonbinding document. Unlike a traditional last will and testament, an ethical will doesn’t lay out who will receive your possessions. You can, however, use it to explain why certain possessions will go to specific people.

It can be done in writing, as an aural recording or on video. You might want to make a kind of scrapbook, with pictures and anecdotes annotating them. For example, the note next to the picture of your daughter graduating from college could say something like:

It’s your way of still being in the room, which is the point of leaving a legacy. With assistance in understanding the differences in a Last Will and Testament VS. a Trust contact me and we can go over the best options for you Legacy!

Monday, March 14, 2016

Life Insurance for the Today's Mom

Do you remember your dad going off to work while mom stayed home to manage the household and take care of the kids?
While times have changed — women now make up 49 percent of the workforce (an all-time high) — many women still stay at home to care for children and run the house.
While we can't put a dollar value on what a mom means to her family, the value of her work is definitely measurable.
In today's dollars, the estimated cost of all the services stay-at-home moms provide is more than $118,000 a year.
The bottom line: Whether she's a stay-at-home mom and wife, or brings home a large share of her family's income, the reasons women need life insurance are the same as those for men.

Stay-at-Home Moms Are Providers, Too

Stay-at-home moms may not be breadwinners, but they're providers who make significant contributions to their families' well-being.
If a stay-at-home mother dies, her husband might need to hire someone to help with household responsibilities including: taking care of kids, helping with homework, paying bills, doing yard work and many other responsibilities.
And child care is a significant expense. Costs fluctuate across the country and among children's ages and care types (day care center, in-home care, etc.), but the national average annual cost of child care for a youngster under 5 years old is about $9,300.

Life Insurance Can Help Working Moms Replace Incomes

Today, many working moms are either the sole or primary source of income for their families. If a family depends on a woman's paycheck, life insurance can help replace that income if she dies during her working years.
It's easy to see why couples with children may need insurance, but it can also apply to couples without children if the wife's passing would be financially difficult for the husband.

Many Women Could Use More — or Even Some — Life Insurance

Women have some catching up to do with men when it comes to life insurance coverage. Statistically speaking, fewer women than men have life insurance, and women have insurance policies with lower dollar coverage than men. And 43 percent of women have no life insurance coverage at all.
Working and stay-at-home moms alike could use life insurance to:
  • Pay final expenses — Life insurance can help pay funeral and burial costs, debts and medical expenses not covered by health insurance.
  • Create an inheritance — If a woman has no other assets, she can create an inheritance by buying a life insurance policy and naming loved ones as beneficiaries.
  • Pay federal and state "death" taxes — Life insurance benefits can help pay estate taxes, so a husband or children will not have to liquidate other assets or take a smaller inheritance.
  • Create a source of savings — Some types of life insurance create a cash value that can be borrowed against or withdrawn at the owner's request.
For more information on the right coverage for you contact me by email to learn more.

Here is a life insurance calculater to see the best rates for you!

Monday, March 7, 2016

Celebrating International Women's Day

International Women's Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.
International Women's Day (IWD) has been observed since in the early 1900's - a time of great expansion and turbulence in the industrialized world that saw booming population growth and the rise of radical ideologies. International Women's Day is a collective day of global celebration and a call for gender parity. No one government, NGO, charity, corporation, academic institution, women's network or media hub is solely responsible for International Women's Day. Many organizations declare an annual IWD theme that supports their specific agenda or cause, and some of these are adopted more widely with relevance than others.
"The story of women's struggle for equality belongs to no single feminist nor to any one organization but to the collective efforts of all who care about human rights," says world-renowned feminist, journalist and social and political activist Gloria Steinem. International Women's Day is all about celebration, reflection, advocacy, and action - whatever that looks like globally at a local level. But one thing is for sure, International Women's Day has been occurring for over a century - and is growing annually from strength to strength.
2016 and beyond

The world has witnessed a significant change and attitudinal shift in both women's and society's thoughts about women's equality and emancipation. Many from a younger generation may feel that 'all the battles have been won for women' while many feminists from the 1970's know only too well the longevity and ingrained complexity of patriarchy. With more women in the boardroom, greater equality in legislative rights, and an increased critical mass of women's visibility as impressive role models in every aspect of life, one could think that women have gained true equality. The unfortunate fact is that women are still not paid equally to that of their male counterparts, women still are not present in equal numbers in business or politics, and globally women's education, health and the violence against them is worse than that of men. However, great improvements have been made. We do have female astronauts and prime ministers, school girls are welcomed into university, women can work and have a family, women have real choices. And so each year the world inspires women and celebrates their achievements. IWD is an official holiday in many countries including Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, China (for women only), Cuba, Georgia, Guinea-Bissau, Eritrea, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Madagascar (for women only), Moldova, Mongolia, Montenegro, Nepal (for women only), Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Zambia. The tradition sees men honouring their mothers, wives, girlfriends, colleagues, etc with flowers and small gifts. In some countries IWD has the equivalent status of Mother's Day where children give small presents to their mothers and grandmothers.

A global web of rich and diverse local activity connects women from all around the world ranging from political rallies, business conferences, government activities and networking events through to local women's craft markets, theatric performances, fashion parades and more. Many global corporations actively support IWD by running their own events and campaigns. For example, on 8 March search engine and media giant Google often changes its Google Doodle on its global search pages to honor IWD. Year on year IWD is certainly increasing in status.
So make a difference, think globally and act locally!
Make everyday International Women's Day.
Do your bit to ensure that the future for girls is bright, equal, safe and rewarding.

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Cash Gifts and Your Taxes, Understanding Your Limits and Federal Obligations

How Much Yearly Can You Gift Someone Without Them Paying Taxes on It?. Although taxpayers can give unlimited annual gifts to qualified charities without paying federal income taxes on their gift transfers, they cannot give unlimited gifts to private individuals. The Internal Revenue Service allows taxpayers to give limited annual gifts to relatives or other private parties without paying income taxes on their transfers. Furthermore, recipients of their gifts are exempt from federal income taxes, regardless of the amounts they receive. The IRS treats gifts and inheritances similarly.
  • Overview

    The federal gift tax laws allow taxpayers to give away property within annual exclusions without subjecting either gift donors or recipients to federal income taxes. Although the IRS taxes all income, including wages, commissions, exchange of services, bonuses, real, personal property, and prizes as income, it provides a limited exception for taxpayers to give gifts without triggering income tax liabilities for either party. Because of the federal tax benefits given to recipients and donors of gifts, the IRS strictly limits its definition of a tax-free gift. According to the IRS, a gift includes personal or real property and cash, as long as the donor does not receive anything in return and does not expect anything from the recipient.
  • Gift Tax Limits

    Congress establishes the gift tax limits annually. Effective Jan. 1, 2009, and current as of 2015, taxpayers are subject to a $13,000 gift limit. The maximum gift allowance before a donor becomes responsible for paying gift taxes prior to giving the gift is $13,000 annually. The $13,000 limit applies to each individual receiving a gift. Thus, a taxpayer can give equal gifts of up to $13,000 for each of her five grandchildren annually without paying income taxes on their gifts. Furthermore, her grandchildren will not have to pay gift taxes on their gifts, regardless of the fair market value of their gifts.
  • Increasing Gift Allowance

    The IRS allows married taxpayers to aggregate their gift limits. In other words, husbands and wives who file taxes as married taxpayers filing jointly can give joint gifts of up to $26,000 annually per recipient. For example, a grandmother and grandfather can give each of their five grandchildren $26,000 annually without paying taxes.
  • Real and Personal Property Gifts

    Taxpayers who give cash gifts can easily determine whether their gifts exceed the annual gift tax limit. However, for taxpayers who give real or personal property gifts, establishing the value of their gifts is more difficult. Under the tax code, taxpayers who give personal or real property gifts may have to obtain professional valuations by certified appraisers to determine the fair market value of their gifts. The IRS requires that appraisers establish fair market value of the gifts they are valuating by considering the price that a willing purchaser would spend to buy the gift. Furthermore, although taxpayers are not initially subject to income taxes on their gifts, they may have to pay income taxes if they later sell their personal or real property gifts.