March 26

When Your Baby Has Special Needs

baby has special needsAs a parent, discovering your baby has special needs can be overwhelming. Perhaps it was something you expected because of prenatal testing or birth trauma, or maybe your baby’s disability or diagnosis was discovered because of developmental delays. Either way, it can feel like you’ve been thrust into an advanced parenting class with no preparation. Where do you possibly begin to help your child take on the challenges ahead? Here are a few suggestions.

Become Your Own Expert. As a parent, you are your baby’s best advocate. Trust your medical professionals but arm yourself with everything you can learn. Rely on information from reputable organizations such as the American Academy of Pediatrics and Easter Seals. The Arc is a national organization serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families. As you navigate medical and other appointments, ask questions for understanding and clarification. The more you know, the stronger your confidence in speaking up when you need to for your child.

March 20


secure act 2020Comprehensive federal legislation referred to as the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement (SECURE) Act (the “Secure Act”), became effective on January 1, 2020. The Secure Act makes changes to federal policy which may impact planning related to defined contribution plans, defined benefit plans, individual retirement accounts, and 529 plans. This article focuses on certain changes that impact owners and beneficiaries of retirement accounts, including traditional individual retirement accounts, Roth individual retirement accounts, and 401(k) and 403(b) plans (collectively “IRAs”).

Required Minimum Distributions to Account Owner:

The Secure Act raised the age at which an IRA owner is required to take minimum distributions (“RMDs”) from 70½ to 72 years old, for any account owner who turned age 70½ after December 31, 2019.

March 12

What’s the Difference Between Acting under a Power of Attorney Document and Serving as an Executor of an Estate?

POA vs Executor EstatePlanning for end of life can be more than a little intimidating. (Perhaps that’s why 76% of respondents in a recent survey thought having a Will was important, but only 40% had one.) Perhaps it’s because we are too busy thinking of the here and now to think of how things will be managed after our death. Those of us who have already granted a trusted person authority to manage certain matters for us by signing a power of attorney document might be breathing a little easier, because we assume that individual will continue to take care of things for us upon our passing. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case since someone acting for you under a power of attorney document loses all authority to continue managing your affairs after your death. There are key differences between the roles of serving under a power of attorney document and an executor of an estate, and they’re important to understand to avoid confusion and costly delays in managing your estate.

Simply stated, a power of attorney (POA) is a document used to grant someone the authority to manage certain aspects of your finances or care while you are alive. When you sign a power of attorney document, you are known as the “principal,” whereas the person you name to manage your affairs is known as an “agent” or an “attorney-in-fact.” There are many types of POAs, depending what is needed. A general Power of Attorney gives broad financial and business responsibility to the named agent.  A special or limited Power of Attorney concentrates on a certain type of authority (examples are selling property or managing a specific business transaction).  A health care Power of Attorney authorizes a named individual to make medical care decisions for you when you are unable to.  A Power of Attorney can be non-durable (only valid so long as the principal has mental capacity) or durable (valid even after the principal loses mental capacity). A Power of Attorney also can be written to take effect only under certain circumstances, such as the principal losing mental capacity. That type of POA is called a “springing power of attorney.” Whatever the type of POA, they all have one thing in common – their power only exists while you are living and they become null and void at the time of your death. In other words, someone acting on your behalf under a Power of Attorney can no longer do so when you die. That’s where an executor comes in. 

February 24

Benefits of Therapy Dogs in Nursing Homes


Sometimes the simplest ideas are the best. What is a non-intrusive, low-risk way to help seniors in a nursing home to reduce stress, relieve boredom, and provide a needed avenue for physical touch and to show and receive love? Therapy dogs!

There are several types of trained and/or certified therapy dogs. Facility Therapy Dogs and Animal-Assisted Therapy Dogs are used by physical and occupational therapists in aiding their patients’ rehabilitation and recovery. Therapeutic Visitation Dogs are the most common and the subject of this piece. These therapy dogs are typically household pets whose owners invest the time for certification and to visit facilities such as hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and nursing homes.

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