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Everyone wants to pay as little tax as possible, but for that to happen it is necessary to take every deduction one qualifies for. Here are a few deductions that people often overlook.

Other Charitable Gifts: In addition to money you donate to charity, you can deduct the cost of travel if you use your vehicle to perform charitable work. You can also deduct the cost of supplies you buy for a charitable project, or a uniform you wear as a volunteer.

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Visits from loved ones in the hospital can greatly improve the mood of patients and assist in their recovery, but most hospitals restrict visitors to the human kind. Although many hospitals have pet therapy programs that use trained dogs, most do not allow visits by family pets. A few hospitals are bucking that trend, allowing patients’ own dogs and cats to visit under certain conditions…

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The Care Circles of Westchester is a new program to provide family caregivers with help from a group of volunteers who can assist with caregiving tasks.

A care circle is a group of volunteers who are willing to help a person who needs care – such as an elderly person – with the tasks of daily living, such as doing laundry, walking the dog, or giving the senior a ride to a doctor’s appointment.

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Scammers and con artists often target older people, and elders may be more likely to fall victim to fraud, either because they are unfamiliar with some common scams or because the effects of early Alzheimer’s or other dementia allow them to be more easily taken advantage of. Of course, when older loved ones are no longer able to make financial decisions for themselves, then a power of attorney is appropriate. But when elderly parents are living independently, but potentially at risk of being taken advantage of, knowing how to protect them can be tricky…

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Planning for the Unexpected

There is a lesson to be learned from AMC’s “The Walking Dead”: advance preparation for the unexpected will prove beneficial. Surviving a zombie apocalypse requires planning: identifying a network of people you can trust, a safe place to hide, food, water and lots of firepower. And that is what estate planning is all about. While you do not need to worry about improving your zombie-fighting skills, you cannot ignore the …

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Estate planning is a financial process that can protect you and your family and is a very important component of your overall financial planning. The 3rd week of October is National Estate Planning Awareness Week and the perfect time to put your estate planning house in order. If you don’t have an up-to-date estate plan and you happen to get hurt or sick and cannot manage your financial affairs, the courts will have to appoint someone to manage them for you. The person they appoint might not be the one you would want to perform those tasks.

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There are as many as 78 million people between the ages of 49 and 67 in the U.S., and few of them report that they plan to end up in a nursing home unless it becomes unavoidable. While some of the Boomers are planning to move in with their adult children, many more are not choosing that option. And, with one out of every four Boomers childless, relying on adult children simply isn’t an option. For others, the increased likelihood that their adult children live thousands of miles away means that the one-third of the Boomers who are single are without established household companionship. But not, it seems, for long.

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Despite a push by advocates for advance care planning, most Americans do not have a living will or other advance health care directive in place. This includes even many patients with serious health conditions, who should be considering end-of-life decisions such as whether they want to be resuscitated or intubated, and who is designated to make decisions about their care if they are incapacitated. Much of the push has been …

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Federal Benefits Glossary

The following is a glossary of common terms related to federal benefits such as Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security: Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA): An annual adjustment that may be made to Social Security benefits to keep pace with inflation.

Lump Sum Death Payment: A $255 one-time payment paid upon death to a widow, widower or children under the age of 18, in addition to any monthly survivors benefits due…

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As members of the baby-boom generation enter their retirement years, awareness is growing of the importance of palliative care for older patients with chronic illnesses, and how planning can clarify difficult end-of-life decisions.

Palliative care is a branch of medicine that focuses on providing relief from the pain and stress of chronic illness. Doctors may be primary care physicians with a specialty in palliative care and may work together with nurses and social workers to improve patients’ quality of life…

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