As the weather turns colder and the holidays approach, our animal loving hearts can't help but think of the poor animals who will be in the shelters this year. We are collecting donation items starting now until January 10th for pets in need. Every little donation counts and adds up!
Items that we can accept:
MEDICATIONS- They accept dog, cat and people medications. Expired medications are fine too.
Baytril, Albon, Biaxin,
Azithromycin, Fungal Meds,
Lixotinic, Frontline, Revolution
Ear & Eye Infection Medications
Pain & Anti-Inflammatory Medications
We will be shipping the medications to an organization that helps in disaster relief areas.
New or gently used items such as:
These items will be dropped of at a local SPCALA location to be distributed by DART (Disaster Animal Response Team) where they are needed the most.
Sending out a quick reminder that we offer free shredding for our clients! We utilize a company who is certified so you can be sure that your personal information is safe. You can drop it off to our office anytime. If you have a lot and it's too heavy to carry up to our suite, give me a call and I will come down and get it.
Have a wonderful weekend!
In a recent blog we notified you about a cell phone SIM swap scam that is happening. The thought of what someone could do to your financial life by hacking your phone is frightening. This week a couple of the major cell phone carriers have announced that they will now start offering insurance to their customers in order to protect them from the aftermath of these types of scams. It's worth it to check with your provider to see if they offer this product.
Here is another article from the FTC that will give you a little more detail about the scam and some tips on how to protect yourself.
Just when we thought we were safe by setting up two-step authentication on our accounts, hackers are getting smarter and scamming us in a different way. The new scam is when a hacker calls your cell phone service provider, pretends to be you and says that you lost your phone and need to activate the new one. They do this by having enough personal information about you to convince the cell phone provider that it is really you. Once they have this information all your texts, phone calls and anything else you receive on your phone will be transferred to their phone and yours will be deactivated. So, all those text messages you receive when logging into your accounts will go directly to the new phone and right into the hacker's hands. This is scary stuff. Please read the following article with the detailed information on the scam and ways to protect yourself from having it happen to you.
Until very recently there was really no estate planning direction on how your social media and online accounts should be handled after you pass away. If you're like me, I have multiple social media accounts and have opted to go paperless on every account that I can. Though this is the most convenient option for us now it may pose a problem when you pass away and there are no instructions or information left for your loved ones. I recently listened to a webinar hosted by TLD Law that gave out some great information and tips on how these digital assets should be handled.
First, we'll talk about what digital assets really are. Digital assets are considered any electronic record that is stored in an online account, not the online account itself. For example: You have a Gmail account, the Gmail account and address are not considered a digital asset. The digital assets would be any emails, pictures or other files in the email account.
Here are some other examples of digital assets:
Airplane Miles, Social Media, Software Licenses, Websites, Cryptocurrencies and any other digital file stored with in an online account or your computer; think Shutterfly, iCloud etc.
One quick way to ensure that your digital assets are taken care of after you die is buy completing a Power of Attorney specifically for those digital assets. The Power of Attorney should have a digital assets provision in it.
If you have a trust in place you should check it to see if there is a provision for digital assets. If the trust document was drafted before 2017 it likely does not, and you will need to amend the trust accordingly.
In the trust and power of attorney documents you should give clear instructions on how you would like your digital assets taken care of when you pass away.
By law, anyone you give this responsibility to will have a fiduciary duty of care, loyalty and confidentiality to uphold. What that means is that they are not allowed to share any personal information that has not already been made public.
A lot of online sites have either legacy contact information or inactive user account manager options that you can set up in your account profiles. Whoever you designate will be contacted after a certain length of time, usually chosen by you, where your account has not been active.
It's important to note that by giving some power of attorney over your digital assets, the companies that hold that information are not legally required to give them access to the online accounts. It is very important to compile an ongoing list of all of your online accounts as well as passwords and keep it in a safe place that your trusted person knows about. Downloading this information onto a hard drive and keeping it in a safety deposit box or fireproof safe are a couple of options. If you simply just give someone this information without the proper legal documents their attempt to log into your account may be misconstrued as computer fraud and may be prosecuted. Especially in the case of elderly parents or grandparents, because there is a heightened awareness of elderly abuse.
There is a ton more information and tips online. I highly encourage you to do some research and get these provisions in place.
Watching the news coverage of Hurricane Dorian this past week as well as the fire in Murrieta, had us sympathizing for the people in their path, what they were going through and how their lives would be affected by these natural disasters. Naturally, this also made us start thinking of our own preparedness for a natural disaster. We recently posted about creating your own emergency kits for your homes. Another thing to think of is what happens to your home and other belongings that were damaged during one of these incidents. It's important to periodically review your insurance policies to make sure that your coverage is sufficient. Our lives are constantly changing, which means you could have recently done a remodel to your home or purchased a brand-new computer. Will your homeowner's insurance cover these new and improved items? One way to make sure is to keep an updated inventory of your personal belongings as well as any documentation for upgrades you have done to your home. Without this documentation your homeowner's insurance may just pay you the basic value of these items and you will not recoup the increased value. One tip I read about, and which seems like the easiest way to inventory your property is to walk around your home with your phone and take a video of each room with its contents. In the video you would show the items of most value and explain what they are. Not only will this prove the items existence, but most phones are hooked up to a cloud-based recovery system. So even if you lose or damage your phone in a disaster the video will be saved to the cloud. Obviously, you would not want to share this video with anyone and should keep it private. No posting to social media sites like FB or Instagram as this could make you a target for break ins. Even if you "know" everyone on your friend lists. We still recommend keeping physical documentation either in a fireproof box, safety deposit box or a flash drive but it never hurts to have more proof. You may also want to look into additional flood and earthquake policies. Maybe you decided to skip these policies when you first bought your home because they can be pricey, or you went with a higher deductible. Now would be the time to get a check up to see if these supplemental policies are right for you.
Wow, is all we can say! We were blown away by how many clients were able to make it to our Ice Cream Social this year. This is truly one of our favorite events of the year because we get to see our clients out of the office in a fun atmosphere all while eating delicious ice cream. Here are some pictures from the Ice Cream Social. If you weren't able to make it this year, we hope to see you at the next one!
Considering the recent earthquakes we just had, we thought it was a good idea to send out a reminder about either updating or creating your home emergency kit. We know that this can be a time-consuming project and a lot of people put it off or don't don one altogether but this is something that can be a true lifesaver.
I found some really good checklists you can use as your starting pints. These checklists are not a one size fits all, so you should customize them for your family's specific needs. One of the checklists suggest updating your emergency kit each time we fall back or spring forward, I love this idea! Makes it really easy to remember.
Here are the checklists:
The most common items that people forget to include in their kits are toilet paper and a bucket for peronal hygiene needs. Definitely two things you don't want to do without!
I was also able to find some premade kits on Amazon. I don't think that any of these kits will have everything that you need but it is an easy way to add necessary items to your kit without much work on your part.