Category Archives: Financial Planning

Tom Petty: Beneficiaries Who “Won’t Back Down”

Perhaps the most appropriate musical ode to disgruntled estate beneficiaries that I’ve ever heard is the late Tom Petty’s I won’t back down. This track was the first single off of his 1990 album, Full Moon Fever, and has been a fan favorite since the day it was released. The single opens with the narrator defiantly telling the world, “I won’t back down, no I won’t back down. You can stand me up at the gates of hell but I won’t back down.” One of the more frustrating things about the time I spent practicing law was dealing with beneficiaries who must have constantly had Tom’s song playing in the back of their heads as they wasted attorney’s fees trying to settle some ancient score with a sibling, stepchild, or other beneficiary.    Read more »

Equifax may owe you money: how can you claim it?

The Equifax data breach in September 2017 was one of the most extensive and damaging breaches of privacy in the history of digital transacting, exposing the personal information of 147 million people. Now, Equifax has agreed to a settlement with the Federal Trade Commission; the $700 million settlement includes $425 million to assist consumers who were victims of the breach. Read more »

What can we learn from Chris Cornell of Soundgarden about arranging provisions for your heirs?

Chris Cornell was the greatest singer of his generation (in my humble opinion). The power and emotion Chris poured into his performances took Soundgarden from a local Seattle grunge outfit to a worldwide phenomenon — the first grunge band to sign a major record deal and sales of over 25 million albums. His soaring vocals were also critical to Temple of the Dog and Audioslave, two of his other extremely successful projects. When Chris took his own life two years ago, he left behind a legion of loyal fans, a group of close friends, and a financial dispute that has turned into a legal one. Read more »

The (Extreme) Entitled Adult Child: What Can You Do?

Much has been written about the horrible means by which scammers are relieving senior citizens of their assets by playing on the senior citizen’s fears and/or confusion. The senior receives a phone call or an email from someone pretending to be a friend in need, a collections agent, an IRS agent, or a prince from some far-off country — then the senior gives that person money, access, or both. While these stories are terrible, they are rare compared to the far-more-common financial pressures that can come from one’s own family or inner circle. A client recently summed up these family pressures perfectly when he said that children’s dependence on their parents “can become pathological when the adult child develops a sense of entitlement, they feel they are owed a lifestyle just like their parents, and the parents do not have the skills to process this effectively with their adult children.” Read more »

Tax Surprises? Here’s Why and What You Can Do About Them

That howling wind-like sound you heard at midnight on Monday, April 15 was accountants across the country exhaling at the end of what has been one of the most trying tax seasons many CPAs have ever worked through. The 2018 tax season has been particularly hard on accountants because, in addition to all of the data gathering and return preparation work that they do every year, this year many of them have had to serve another role: the bearer of really bad financial news. Taxpayers across the country have been surprised with their tax obligations under the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act and it is likely their CPAs who are explaining this system to folks for the first time. Today’s post will focus on some of the root causes of these tax surprises and propose a solution or two for those who owe more than expected.

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