Asset Planning, Inc Blog

The latest from the team.

Notary Services

Don't forget that if you're ever in need of notary services, we offer them free to our clients. Give me a call at 714-827-5794 to set up an appointment.

Have a great weekend!

Melani

 

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Go Bag for Emergencies

After witnessing the devastation from the recent hurricanes and California wildfires I thought it was a good idea to send out a reminder about having a “go bag” or emergency kit ready. In the case of the wildfires the residents had little to no notice. This gave them no time to collect any of their belongings for themselves or their pets. Having this “go bag” ready and easily accessible is extremely important. On the FEMA website I found a comprehensive list of what you should have in your emergency kit as well as some additional tips to help you prepare for an emergency.It is attached below. Take some time to look over the list and get your "go bag" ready.

Emergency_Kit_Checklist-_FEMA.pdf

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Healthcare Emergency Planning for Adult Children

As I mentioned in the last newsletter, my daughter is now a college freshman. We also recently celebrated another milestone with her, the 18th birthday. Though, Ashley is technically an adult, I know she has some years ahead before she is truly an adult with real responsibilities and maturity. With that in mind, I knew I didn’t want to be caught in an emergency situation where I was unable to help my daughter because of her “legal” adulthood. I once experienced a medical emergency nightmare with my unmarried adult brother whom was hospitalized in an incapacitated condition. Due to HIPPA privacy laws and no established health care directives, we could not see him, get any information, nor make any decisions about his care.

To be prepared in a healthcare emergency, a HIPPA release and Healthcare Directive are two forms that can be prepared in advance by your adult children or any adult. A signed HIPAA release permits healthcare providers to disclose your health information to anyone you specify. A stand-alone HIPAA form does not have to be notarized or witnessed.

An Advanced Healthcare Directive form allows you appoint an “agent” to make medical decisions on your behalf in case you are incapacitated and cannot make such decisions for yourself. You can also specify your wishes regarding life support. Each state has different laws and forms governing these legal documents. If your child is out of state, complete the away and home state forms. Here are the links to the state of California’s standard forms. Also be sure to check with your insurance company or Medical Provider if they have their own form to sign as well. I know Kaiser does.

https://oag.ca.gov/sites/all/files/agweb/pdfs/consumers/ProbateCodeAdvancedHealthCareDirectiveForm-fillable.pdf

http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/Documents/Authorization%20for%20Release%20of%20Protected%20Health%20Information%20DHCS%206247.pdf

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Credit Freeze

It seems like everyday we are hearing about yet another major company being hacked and our personal information getting exposed. It's frightening to think of all the harm that could come from a criminal using that information to wreck havoc on your finances. If you haven't done so already, putting a freeze on your credit is something that you should strongly consider. A credit freeze restricts companies from seeing your credit report which would prevent them from opening new accounts in your name. If you want to open a new account or apply for a loan you will have to call and have the credit freeze lifted to do so. This may seem like an inconvenience but it's definitely better than trying to clean up the financial mess that fraudulent activity creates.

To place a freeze on your credit you will have to contact the credit reporting agencies directly at the numbers below:

Equifax 800-349-9960

Experian 888-397-3742

TransUnion 888-909-8872

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Medicare Reminders

With today being the first day of autumn I thought it would be a good time to send out a reminder about Medicare open enrollment that happens every year from October 15th- December 7th. If you would like to make any changes to your Medicare plan now is the time to do it. If you are currently working, most companies also have their open enrollment times as well and it is a great time to review your current benefits. Be sure you are taking advantage of a flexible savings account for healthcare or childcare. Also, you may want to increase your 401k contributions because of a recent raise in pay. Those are just a couple things to consider when reviewing your benefits.

Another important reminder is if you've received a medicare premium increase due to a higher annual income but you have had a major lifestyle change that has decreased that income you can appeal the higher premiums. Life changing events such as retirement, divorce, death of a spouse, or work reduction are a few examples of a basis for an appeal.

Here is a link to an article that gives you step by step instructions on how you can make an appeal.

https://www.hhs.gov/about/agencies/omha/the-appeals-process/part-b-premium-appeals/index.html

 

 

 

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Grab and Go Folder

With the recent hurricanes we thought it was a good time to send out a reminder about keeping an emergency folder with important details such as account numbers and passwords. We like to call this your "Grab and Go folder". Here is a list of information you should have in the folder.

  • Assets: checking and investment accounts, private business interests, location of safety deposit boxes, annuities, individual retirement accounts and 401(k)s, trust agreements, real estate, vehicles, collectibles 
  • Liabilities: credit cards, mortgages, car payments, cell phone bills, other recurring bills
  • Social media/online accounts: passwords and login information for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Amazon, PayPal, eBay, Netflix, Hulu, iCloud or other cloud storage accounts, online photo storage accounts 
  • Miscellaneous subscriptions/memberships: airline rewards programs, Sam’s, BJ’s or Costco memberships, toll tag accounts, magazines, newspapers 
  • Insurance: life insurance, long-term care, disability, home, auto 
  • Home maintenance: water, gas, electricity, telephone, alarm, lawn care, cable television, Internet service 
  • Medical: medical conditions, medications, emergency contacts 
  • Personal: burial/cremation preferences, funeral plans, pre-paid funeral expenses, birth certificates, marriage certificates, Social Security card 
  • Key contacts: financial and legal advisors, doctors, family members, close friends

No one likes to think that something bad will happen to them but it's always good to be prepared in case it does.

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Equifax Cybersecurity Breach

Equifax has announced that they were hacked between May- July 2017. This is very scary because the personal information for millions of people has been exposed. This data includes all of your sensitive information such as; birth date, social security number, drivers license number, address, credit card numbers etc.

Equifax has a tool that lets you check to see if you may have been exposed to the hack and is offering a year of free credit monitoring through their Equifax TrustedID Premier Service for those who were.

Follow the link below to read all about the breach, see if you were affected and to sign up for the free credit monitoring.

https://www.equifaxsecurity2017.com/

 ****UPDATE- Before signing up for the free credit monitoring service that Equifax is offering please read the fine print that goes along with the terms of agreement. You may be giving up your rights to a law suit if you take advantage of their offer.****

 

 

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Happy Labor Day

In observance of the Labor Day Holiday we will be closed on Monday, September 4th.

We will be returning to normal business hours on Tuesday, September 5th.

We hope that everyone enjoys their holiday weekend!

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Hurricane Harvey

Our thoughts are with those in Texas who have been impacted by the devastating flooding and damage from Hurricane Harvey. For those of you who are looking for ways to help, TD Amertitrade is matching donations dollar for dollar. This is a great way to make your contribution go even further to help more people. If you would like to donate please click on the link below.

TD Ameritrade Disaster Relief Donation

 

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Block Those Annoying Robocalls

Nothing is more annoying then getting numerous calls a day from unknown or out of the area numbers. They never leave a message and tend to be unwanted robotic sales calls. I was starting to see an increase in these calls and I was getting frustrated with the constant disruptions in my day. Luckily for me Sandy came accross a service called Nomorobo. Nomorobo is a service that automatically detects phone calls from illiegal robocallers and blocks them from going through to your phone. Legal robocalls, from schools and doctors' offices for example, are allowed through. The service is free for VOIP landline phones and they recently released an app for iPhones, the Android app is coming soon. Sandy and I each started the free trial for the iPhone app and are really pleased with how it has been working so far. I have not received a single unwanted call since signing up. Another great feature of the app is that if a robocall accidentally gets through you can report it directly on the app and they will add it to their blacklist right away. This is by far better than the Do Not Call Registry that doesn't seem to do much to deter scammers from calling. I have included a link to the Nomorobo website below with a screen shot of some features it offers. If you are annoyed by these calls it's definitely a service to check out!

https://www.nomorobo.com/

Nomorobo

Have a wonderful weekend!

Melani

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