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Sally, a lifelong resident of the South Hills of Allegheny County, was a nervous wreck at a time in her life when things were spinning out of her control. Her husband, a retired state trooper, had recently passed away. He handled all the business aspects of their household. While grieving her loss, she was forced into managing her financial and planning affairs. Sally met with her advisor, Brian Breisinger, and asked an important question of him. Where, in southwestern Pennsylvania, do I turn to get advice regarding my health insurance?
From that conversation, the foundation of MediConnect Insurance was laid. Brian soon realized the health insurance industry was complicated and stressful for many people transitioning into retirement and beyond. The Medicare rules and health plan options are ever-changing. Sally needed education and sound advice to make the right decisions for her.
Today, MediConnect Insurance is the region's largest fully-independent healthcare advisory firm. Since Brian met Sally, the focus of MediConnect has always been providing unbiased expert advice in a simplistic manner while ensuring the most comprehensive options are available in budget-friendly packages. Further, there is never a fee or cost for these services.
MediConnect works with every insurance company in the region to provide access to comprehensive coverage for every individual. While reaching a large audience in their weekly radio show, every Saturday at 9 AM on KDKA AM 1020, they take the time to care about each person's needs.
Sally says, "Without Brian, I wouldn't have known what kind of coverage to select then. With MediConnect, I now have peace of mind that my insurance will be there if I need it and I don't have to do this alone every year."
If youre part of a blended family (meaning you are married with children from a prior marriage in the mix), youre no stranger to the extra considerations and planning it takes to keep your familys life running smoothly from which parent your children will be with for the holidays to figuring out the schedule for a much-needed family vacation. Youve also probably given some thought to what you want to happen to your assets and your family if something happens to you. But what you might not have realized is this: If you dont create a plan for your assets before you die, the law has its own plan for you that might not reflect your wishes for your assets, especially your retirement assets. And if youre in a blended family, this can have a significant financial impact on the ones you love and even create expensive, long-term conflict.This week, we explain how the law affects retirement distributions for married couples, and why you need to be extra careful with your retirement planning if youre in a blended family to ensure your retirement account assets go to the right people in the right amounts after youre gone.Be Aware of How ERISA Affects 401K DistributionsIf youve remarried, you and your new spouse have probably talked about updating the beneficiary designations on your retirement accounts to reflect your blended family arrangement. (If you havent talked about it, you need to talk about it ASAP). Sometimes, people who are remarried decide to leave their retirement funds to their children from a prior marriage and leave other assets like their house and savings accounts to their current spouse. You may do this to avoid future conflict between your spouse and your children over your assets.But even if you want to leave your retirement for just your children, if youre married and your retirement account is a work-sponsored account, your children wont inherit the entire account even if you name them as the sole beneficiaries. Thats because the federal Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) governs most employer-sponsored pensions and retirement accounts. Under ERISA, if youre married at the time of your death, your spouse is automatically entitled to receive 50 percent of the value of your employer-sponsored plan even if your beneficiary designations say otherwise.The only time that your surviving spouse would not inherit half of your ERISA-governed retirement account is if your spouse signs an official Spousal Waiver saying they are affirmatively waiving their right to inherit 50 percent of the account, or if the account beneficiary is a Trust of which your spouse is a primary beneficiary. IRAs Have Different Rules Than 401KsIf you want your children to inherit more than 50 percent of your work-sponsored retirement benefits, and completing a Spousal Waiver isnt an option, consider rolling the account into a personal IRA instead.In contrast to 401(k)s and similar employer-sponsored plans, IRAs are controlled by state law instead of ERISA. That means that your spouse is not automatically entitled to any part of your IRA. When you roll a 401(k) into an IRA, you gain the flexibility to name anyone you choose as the designated beneficiary, with or without your spouses consent. On the other hand, if you want to ensure your spouse receives half of your retirement savings, make sure to include them as a 50 percent beneficiary or better yet, have your individual retirement account payout to a Trust instead. With a Trust, you can:Document exactly how much of your retirement you want each of your loved ones to receiveControl when they receive the funds outrightEasily update and change the terms of your Trust without having to remember to update your financial accounts.Beneficiary Designations Always Trump Your WillWhether you have an employer-sponsored 401K or an IRA you manage yourself, there is one critical rule that everyone needs to know: beneficiary designations trump your Will.A Will is an important estate planning tool, but most people dont know that beneficiary designations override whatever your Will says about a particular asset. For example, if your Will states that you want your retirement account to be passed on to your brother, but the beneficiary designation on the account says you want it to go to your sister, your sister will inherit the account, even though your Will says otherwise.Similarly, lets imagine that you get divorced and as part of your divorce decree your ex-spouse agrees that they will not have any right to your retirement fund. However, after the divorce, you forget to take their name off of the beneficiary designation for the account. If you die before updating the beneficiary designation, your former spouse will inherit your retirement account. If you forget to update your ERISA-controlled account and have remarried, your current spouse would receive half of the account and your former spouse would receive the other half. Thats why its so important to work with an estate planning attorney who can make sure your accounts are set up with the proper beneficiary designations and ensure that your assets are passed on according to your wishes.Work With An Attorney Who Makes Sure All Your Assets Will Be Passed On How You Want Them ToUnderstanding how the law affects different types of assets is essential to creating an estate plan. But theres more to it than just having a lawyer you need an attorney who takes the time to really understand your family and your assets so they can design a custom plan that achieves your goals for your assets and your legacy. Thats why we help our clients create an inventory of all of their assets to ensure that every asset they hold is accounted for and passed on to their loved ones exactly as they want it to.Contact Entrusted Legacy Law at 412-347-1731.
Let's say that you came across a shoebox full of old loose photographs or a few inherited family photo albums when you were in the process of decluttering your home. Let's also assume that you have made the conscious decision to have these pictures scanned by a Professional Photo Organizer in order to share them with your friends and family. The question will inevitably arise: what do you do with the original photos after they've been digitized? In the spirit of downsizing and getting rid of things that take up space in your home, your first thought may be to throw them away. The photos already on a flash drive, your cloud drive, and your computer - why would you need to keep the originals? The original photos are the best backup, especially if you use a cloud sync service to view/share your digital photos (i.e., Apple Photos, Google Photos, etc.). There are few worse things than accidentally deleting a photo on a synced drive (meaning it gets deleted EVERYWHERE) and realizing that you have no way of getting it back!Storage hardware and cloud software failure are rare occurrences, but they can be devastating. If you experience a power surge that damages your computer or the cloud software you use shuts down, you are really going to regret throwing the originals away! It is also important to note that hard drives have the potential to fail within a year, and most external hard drives only last around 3 years before they start experiencing data loss.Destructive edits made to a photo (i.e., cropping, lighting/color adjustments, etc.) can be difficult or impossible to undo, especially if it is the only digital copy you have access to. The original copy is always going to be your best reference if edits go awry!The original, printed photos are format-less. That is to say, you don't have to worry about "paper technology" changing as we advance further into the digital world. These "analog" photos are going to be able to be viewed by anyone at any time without the restrictions of cross-compatibility or file format.Using some sturdy archival boxes and labeled divider tabs as you sort through your photos can optimize your storage space! This means you can still maintain your goal of downsizing and clearing space! However, in order for this to be most effective, proper storage practices need to be used. Photos should not be stored in the attic, basement, garage, or anywhere where temperature and moisture levels fluctuate. By the way, you don't have to keep ALL your printed photos - just the ones that you consider the best and most meaningful! If you have already sorted through your photo collection and removed the blurry and "finger-in-frame" photos before they were scanned, finding the space in your home to store the originals of your favorite photos should be a non-issue. Also keep in mind that having photos you took on your phone printed is a great idea, as long as you create space on walls, in albums, or in photo books for them.
After a decluttering project is complete, it's time to make sure that things STAY organized. Group your like items togetherclothing, pantry items, cleaning supplies whatever items you want to focus on. If you are searching for the right container there are many to choose from. There are a lot of affordable and stylish options for your pantry, for general home use, and even for your basement and attic! After you have gathered your similar items, place them into an appropriate sized container and label it. Condensing items and labeling the container is a quick and simple way to sort and maintain organization! That way, when you buy new things, you know exactly where they go.Dont Buy Containers Until You Are Done Organizing!It is very tempting to buy boxes, storage goodies, or drawer organizers before you start to declutter. We get it! It can be fun (and motivating) to head to The Container Store to "get ideas" and come home with $200 worth of bins and baskets, labels and more. It is better to wait until after you have sorted out what you are keeping and have measured the drawers, cabinets, and shelves that the container will go on to go shopping - either online or in the store. Instead of making multiple trips to the store, save yourself time and effort (and frustration when things don't fit) by making sure that you are prepared!Try not to worry too much about "the system" being perfect. Organizing is a skill you CAN learn and once it becomes a daily habit, it will get easier. Eventually, you will have an easy-to-manage system that allows for quick retrieval and storage of almost any item!
Welcome to MediConnect Insurance, Your Only TRUE Independent Medicare Plan Concierge Service. Helping to Bridge the Healthcare Gap.- Fully licensed agents representing all of the major carriers- Local office in Pittsburgh- Unbiased Medicare coverage advice- No cost or obligation- All representative compensation is direct from carrier- All from the comfort of your home