User-Friendly Dental Care Products

I have arthritis and experience hand tremors that make brushing my teeth difficult. I have read that electric toothbrushes can help. What should I consider before buying one?

An electric toothbrush can be a practical choice to maintain oral hygiene for individuals who suffer from arthritis or have other hand weaknesses or tremors. At the push of a button, an electric toothbrush takes care of the cleaning for you. Most electric toothbrushes come with a wide, slightly weighted handle and rubberized grip that make them easier and more comfortable to hold.

How to Choose


With dozens of different electric toothbrushes on the market today, here are some points to consider before making a choice:

Cost: The cost of electric toothbrushes range from approximately $10 for a basic model with replaceable AA batteries to more than $200 for models with numerous features including rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, multiple brushing modes, smartphone integrations and more.

Brushing action: Brush heads tend to be either "oscillating" or "sonic." Oscillating brushes are commonly a circle that rotate back and forth. Bristles may also pulsate in and out. Sonic means the brush heads vibrate side to side or rotate but at much faster speeds. Both methods are effective and a matter of personal preference.

Electric versus battery: A brush with a built-in rechargeable battery and an electric charging station may be preferable since they are more convenient and cost effective than toothbrushes with replaceable batteries. For toothbrushes with replaceable batteries, rechargeable options may be a helpful long-term swap for disposable batteries.

Brushing timer: Since most dentists recommend brushing for two minutes (most adults average about 45 to 70 seconds), consider opting for an electric toothbrush with a built-in timer, a feature found in most models. Some brushes will even split the two minutes into four 30-second intervals and will notify you when it is time to switch to a different quadrant of your mouth.

Extra features: Higher-priced electric brushes come with extra features like cleaning modes, pressure sensors, a charge-level display and more. There are even "smart" toothbrushes that connect to a smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth to track brushing habits.

Easier Flossing Tools


If traditional flossing has become a challenge, floss picks serve as a convenient alternative. Floss picks are disposable plastic-handle tools that have floss threaded onto them, which makes them easier to hold and use. Several brands offer packs of floss picks at an affordable price, and many come with the option of toothbrush-like handle for better reach.

Another flossing product that is user-friendly is the water flosser, which uses high-pressured pulsating water to remove food particles and plaque and will stimulate your gums in the process. There are a variety of water flossing products at prices ranging between $50 and $300. These dental care products can be found at your local pharmacy or retailer that sells personal care items or online.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

 

Published February 2, 2024

Managing Social Media Accounts After a Passing

How do I cancel an individual's social media accounts after they pass? My spouse passed away a few months ago and their social media accounts are still active.

Deactivating social media accounts of a loved one after their passing is a thoughtful measure that may often be overlooked. Social media plays a large role for many individuals, but when an individual passes away, their dormant accounts can become vulnerable to scammers who can hack into them and steal the deceased individual's identity.

Here is a breakdown of how you can cancel or modify various social media accounts after a loved one passes away.

Facebook: If your spouse used Facebook, you can either "memorialize" or "delete" the account. A memorialized account serves as a place where family and friends can share memories to celebrate the deceased person's life, with the word "Remembering" shown next to the deceased person's name. Once an account is memorialized, the account's postings are still visible on Facebook to the original audience. The user's profile, however, will not show up in public spaces such as people you may know, ads or birthday reminders.

Memorializing an account requires proof of death via death certificate, obituary or memorial card. If, however, you wish to delete the account, you will also need to verify that you are an immediate family member, legal representative or executor, unless you are the legacy contact on the deceased's account.

Instagram: The policy for deceased users' Instagram accounts is similar to Facebook's policy, since Meta owns both Facebook and Instagram. Your options are to either memorialize or remove the account on their website. But just like with Facebook, you will need to provide proof of death and your relationship to the deceased.

X (formerly Twitter): To deactivate an X account, search online for "How to contact X about a deceased family member's account" and follow the prompts to fill out a request. After you submit your request, X will email you with instructions for providing more details, including information about the deceased, a copy of your ID, and a copy of the deceased's death certificate.

YouTube and/or Google: Google and YouTube are owned by the same parent company. To close a Google or YouTube account, visit Google's support page and fill out their form and upload scans of the death certificate and your ID.

Pinterest: To remove a Pinterest account, email the site with the deceased user's account username, proof of death and proof of relationship to the deceased. If the account is connected to other accounts at Google, Facebook, or X, it is best to delete the Pinterest account before deleting the other accounts.

LinkedIn: To remove a deceased person's LinkedIn profile, submit a request with LinkedIn's Help center. You will need to provide the name and URL to the profile being deactivated, the relationship you have to the deceased, the email address, the date of passing and a link to an obituary.

Snapchat: To delete this account, access "Contact Us" on the company's support page and choose the option for "A person has passed away." From there, follow the prompts for submitting a request. If you do not have the login information, submit a request using their Contact Us form. You will need to submit information to locate the account, such as the username and proof such as a death certificate.

Tumblr: Send an email to Tumblr's Support page requesting removal of the account with the deceased person's Tumblr username, proof of their death and proof of your relationship to the deceased.

If your spouse had social media through a company not listed here, go to that company's website for information on how to delete the account. If they do not have easy to find information, submit a request through a contact page, help page or customer support request.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

 

Published January 26, 2024

Salem Community Schools Employees Give Back

Not everyone can do everything, but everyone can do something and those somethings add up. In this case, the somethings are a couple of dollars out of each paycheck for Salem Community Schools employees that choose to give to the Salem Community Schools Giving Tree Fund.  

Crystal Mikels and Emily Johnson’s STEAM classes for Kindergarten through Fifth Grade will be putting their imaginations to work with the purchase of Makedo Tools as well as a cardboard saw to enhance opportunities for student creativity. 

Students in Lesle Leis and Jessica Morgan’s classes will have the opportunity to harvest their own food while working together to build an outdoor garden of vegetables that will be grown in pots and bags that will not only provide the science of plant life, but encourage special education students and Project Based Learning students to educate and mentor each other.

Donors to the Washington County Community Foundation serve as a beacon of hope, creating a legacy of care and compassion that shines for generations to come.

End

Essential Topics to Discuss with Aging Parents

My siblings and I do not know much about our elderly parents’ financial situation or their preferences for end-of-life matters. What is the best way to handle this and what are some important things to know?

Many adult children have limited information regarding their elderly parents’ financial situation or end-of-life plans. Getting up to speed on parents’ finances, insurance policies, long-term care plans and other information is important so you can help with their financial affairs, caregiving or executing their estate plan when needed. Without this information, it is much more difficult to navigate these situations. Here are some tips that can help.

Have the Conversation


If you are uncomfortable talking to your parents about these topics, you can use this column as a prompt or visit TheConversationProject.org, which offers free guides that can help you start these conversations. It may also be a good idea to encourage your siblings to participate in these discussions to help avoid any possible hard feelings. Having the whole family involved also demonstrates to your parents that everyone is collectively concerned.

The conversation with your parents, will help you collect information, find out where they keep key documents and learn how they want certain things handled if they become incapacitated or pass away. Here is a checklist of areas to focus on.

PERSONAL INFORMATION


• Contacts: Make a list of names and phone numbers of your parents’ doctors, lawyers, accountants, brokers, tax preparers, insurance agents and any other advisors.
• Medical information: Make a copy of their medical history and a list of medications they take.
• Personal documents: Find out where they keep their Social Security card, marriage license, military discharge papers and any other important documents.
• Secured places: Make a list of places they keep safeguarded such as safe deposit boxes, safe combination and security alarms.
• Digital assets: Make a list of their digital assets – including social media accounts and online banking accounts. The list should include usernames and passwords.
• Pets: If they have a pet, what are their instructions for the animal’s care?
• End of life: What are their wishes for organ or body donation, and their funeral instructions? If they have made pre-arrangements with a funeral home, get a copy of the agreement.

LEGAL DOCUMENTS


• Will: Do they have an updated will or trust? Where is it located?
• Power of attorney: Do they have a power of attorney that names someone to handle their financial matters if they become incapacitated?
• Advance directives: Do they have a living will and a medical power of attorney that spells out their wishes regarding their end-of-life medical treatment? If they do not have these documents prepared, now is the time to prepare them.

FINANCIAL RECORDS


• Financial accounts: Make a list of their bank accounts, brokerage and mutual fund accounts, and any other financial assets they have.
• Debts and liabilities: Make a list of any loans, leases or debts they have – including mortgages, car loans, student loans, medical bills and credit card debts. Also, make a list of all credit and charge cards, including the card numbers and contact information.
• Company benefits: Make a list of any retirement plans, pensions or benefits from their former employers including the contact information of the benefits administrator.
• Insurance: Make a list of the insurance policies they have (life, long-term care, home, auto or Medicare) including the policy numbers, agents and phone numbers.
• Property: Make a list of the real estate, vehicles or other properties they own, rent or lease and where they keep the deeds, titles and loan or lease agreements.
• Taxes: Find out where they keep copies of past year’s tax returns.

It is unlikely that all of this information with be gathered at one time. As such, it is important to keep the conversation going to ensure your parents’ wishes are accurately executed.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

 

Published January 19, 2024

Are You at Risk of Developing Glaucoma?

My sibling was recently diagnosed with glaucoma and has suffered some vision loss without any previous warning signs. Could I be at risk too?

Having an immediate family member with glaucoma significantly increases your risk of developing it, but there are other risk factors that you also need to be aware of. Here is what you should know.

What is Glaucoma?


Glaucoma is a group of eye diseases that damage the optic nerve and cause vision loss and blindness if it is not treated. This happens when the fluids in the eye do not drain properly, causing increased pressure in the eye. Unfortunately, because glaucoma has no early warning signs or pain, many do not realize they have it until their vision begins to deteriorate.

There are two main types of glaucoma: open-angle and angle-closure glaucoma. The most common is open-angle glaucoma. This disease develops very slowly when the eye's drainage canals become clogged over time, leading to blind spots in the peripheral or side vision. By the time an individual notices it, permanent damage is already done.

Are You at Risk?


It is estimated that more than 3 million Americans have glaucoma today, but that number is expected to surge to more than 6.3 million by 2050. If you answer "yes" to any of the following questions, you may have an increased risk of developing glaucoma.
  • Are you African American, Hispanic or Asian American?
  • Are you over age 60?
  • Do you have an immediate family member with glaucoma?
  • Do you have diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, migraines or extreme nearsightedness or farsightedness?
  • Have you had an eye injury?
  • Have you used corticosteroids (for example: eye drops, pills, inhalers, and creams) for long periods of time?

Next Steps


Early detection is the key to guarding against glaucoma. The American Optometric Association recommends that adults ages 18 to 64 receive annual eye exams. If you are age 40 or older and have any of the previously mentioned risk factors, you should get a comprehensive eye examination at least every 18 to 24 months. Alternatively, if you notice some loss of peripheral vision, you should consult with your eye doctor immediately.

If you are a Medicare beneficiary, annual glaucoma screenings are covered for those at high risk for glaucoma. If your insurance does not cover screenings, search online for local no-cost glaucoma exams.

While there is currently no cure for glaucoma, most cases can be treated with prescription eye drops, which reduce eye pressure and can prevent further vision loss. However, vision lost from glaucoma cannot be restored. If eye drops do not work, your doctor may recommend oral medication, laser treatments, incisional surgery or a combination of these methods. For more information on glaucoma, visit the National Eye Institute at NEI.nih.gov.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

 

Published January 12, 2024

Online Tools for Convenient Tax Filing

On January 4, 2024, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) highlighted the online tools that enable taxpayers to file their 2023 Federal income tax returns. The IRS has published several reminders that are designed to make filing easier for this season.

1. Interactive Tax Assistant — The Interactive Tax Assistant (ITA) is designed to allow taxpayers to ask common tax law questions and receive helpful answers. Typical questions include who is required to file a tax return, what is the best filing status to use, how to qualify to claim a dependent and whether one should claim certain credits or deductions. The ITA can answer most of the questions that individuals have for filing typical tax returns.

2. Earned Income Tax Credit Assistant — The Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is designed to provide moderate-income workers and families with a tax benefit. The EITC may help some taxpayers reduce their tax or provide a larger refund for others. Individuals can use the EITC Assistant to determine eligibility for the credit, understand who is considered a qualifying child or other relative, estimate the amount of the credit and select the correct filing status.

3. Where's My Refund? — After filing a tax return, the majority of taxpayers will qualify for a refund. The IRS attempts to issue refunds within 21 days for those who file electronically. The "Where's My Refund?" tool is available the day after e-filing. If filing a paper tax return, it may take four weeks before the information is available. This convenient tool enables taxpayers to understand the status of their 2023 income tax refund.

4. IRS Individual Online Account — Taxpayers with a Social Security number or an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number are able to create and access an IRS Individual Online Account. This may help by showing any tax balance owed and payment history. Taxpayers can schedule payments, obtain tax transcripts, view or create payment plans and view important data from prior tax returns, such as adjusted gross income. If a tax professional submits a power of attorney, individuals can electronically sign that in the account.

5. Identity Protection PIN — An Identity Protection (IP) PIN is a six-digit code known only to the taxpayer and the IRS. By using an IP PIN together with a Social Security number or Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, taxpayers will have a more secure tax filing experience. The IP PIN tool will be available from January 8 through mid-November. Taxpayers can register and obtain the IP PIN on IRS.gov.

Medicare Spousal Coverage

My spouse has been a stay-at-home parent and homemaker since we got married and has not held an income-producing job for years. Will they be eligible for Medicare?

Many couples find themselves in a similar situation when applying for Medicare. In most cases, your spouse can generally qualify for Medicare on your work record. Here is how it works.

Medicare Requirements


Medicare is a government health insurance program for older adults and covers around 60 million Americans age 65 and older. It also covers younger individuals that have a qualifying disability or have End-Stage Renal Disease.

To be eligible, you must have worked and paid Medicare taxes for at least 10 years to qualify for premium-free Medicare Part A hospital coverage when you turn 65. If you qualify, your non-working spouse will also qualify based on your work record when they turn 65.

Divorced spouses are also eligible if your marriage lasted at least 10 years, the divorced spouse is unmarried, they are age 62 or older, you qualify for Social Security or have a disability and the benefit they receive based on their own work is less than the benefit they would receive based on your work. Benefits are also available to surviving spouses who are single and who were married for at least nine months before their spouse passed away.

In addition to Part A, both you and your spouse would also qualify for Medicare Part B, which covers doctor’s visits and other outpatient services, but requires a monthly premium. The premium for Part B beneficiaries in 2024 is $174.70 per month per person. Couples filing jointly with incomes over $206,000 per year pay more.

Older Spouses


If your spouse is older than you, your spouse can qualify for Medicare based off of your work record at age 65, even if you are not receiving Medicare yourself, but you must be at least 62 years old. Additionally, you must have been married for at least one year for your spouse to be eligible for Medicare on your work record.

If you are still working and your spouse is covered by your employer’s health insurance, your spouse may want to enroll only in the premium-free Medicare Part A until you retire or your employer coverage ends. Part B and its premium can be added later without penalty as long as your employer’s group health plan is your “primary coverage.” Check with your employers’ human resources department to find more information on this. (Note: If your spouse is funding a health savings account, they may not want to enroll in Part A because your spouse will not be able to make contributions after enrolling).

Younger Spouses


If your spouse is younger than you, they will need health insurance until age 65 and becomes eligible for Medicare. This may be through the Health Insurance Marketplace (see healthcare.gov), or if you are still working, through COBRA (see dol.gov/general/topic/health-plans/cobra).

Other Medicare Choices


In addition to Medicare Part A and B, when you and your spouse become Medicare eligible, each of you will need to enroll in a Part D prescription drug plan if you do not have credible drug coverage from your employer or union. Additionally, you may want to purchase a Medicare supplemental (Medigap) policy to help pay for things that are not covered by Medicare such as copayments, coinsurance and deductibles. You may also want to consider an all-in-one Medicare Advantage plan.

For more information on Medicare choices and enrollment rules visit Medicare.gov or call 800-633-4227. You can also get help through your State Health Insurance Assistance Program which provides free Medicare counseling.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

 

Published January 5, 2024

IRS Highlights New Required Minimum Distribution (RMD) Rules

In IR-2023-246, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) reminded individuals born before 1951 to take a required minimum distribution (RMD) from their IRA or other qualified retirement plan. The first RMD may be taken in 2023 or until April 1, 2024.

Individuals born before 1951 turn age 73 in 2023. The Secure 2.0 Act raised the RMD age from 72 to 73. Those individuals who were born during 1951 must take their first required distribution by April 1, 2025.

The IRS reminds owners of IRAs and other retirement plans that there are several different types of plans and different rules for those individuals.

1. IRA Owners — The basic rule for an IRA owner is that under Secure 2.0 Act rules he or she must take an RMD every year after reaching age 73.

2. Roth IRA Owners — Those individuals who own a Roth IRA have contributed after-tax dollars to the Roth. They eventually will be able to withdraw the contributions and earnings tax free. Roth IRA owners are not required to take an RMD during their lifetime. They may allow the Roth to grow tax-free until they pass away.

3. Qualified Retirement Plans — There are a multitude of employer-sponsored retirement plans. These may include profit-sharing plans, 401(k) plans, 403(b) plans or 457(b) plans. Most participants in employer-sponsored retirement plans can delay RMDs until they retire. The exception is an individual who is a 5% or more owner of the business. Even if a business owner is still working, RMDs must start at age 73.

4. 401(k) or 403(b) Roth Plans — Some individuals have an employer who allows their voluntary contributions to be allocated to a Roth plan through a 401(k) or 403(b) account. These plans will require an RMD for 2023. However, in 2024 and later years the 401(k) or 403(b) Roth plans will not require an RMD.

The IRA trustee or administrator is required to calculate and report the RMD to each IRA owner. The individual who owns multiple IRAs must calculate a total RMD but may withdraw that amount from any of the IRA accounts. The IRA trustee or administrator may calculate an RMD, but the account owner is responsible for taking the correct amount.

Under Secure 2.0, the penalty for failure to take the full amount of the RMD is reduced from 50% to 25% of the amount not withdrawn. This can be reduced further to a tax of 10%, if the error is corrected within two years.

An individual who inherits an IRA will generally be subject to distribution requirements the year after he or she has received the account. For individuals who inherited in 2020 or later years, there is generally a requirement to fully distribute the account within 10 years of the death of the account holder. While the IRS has published a proposed ruling that suggested it may be necessary to take minimum distributions during the ten-year period, it has waived those distribution requirements for 2023.

There are four exceptions to the ten-year RMD rule. A surviving spouse, minor child, and disabled individual or chronically ill person may qualify for a different plan. The disabled or chronically ill individual may use the prior distribution-over-life-expectancy method.

There is further information on required minimum distributions and explanations on how to calculate the RMD for an inherited IRA in Publication 559, Survivors, Executors and Administrators.

Online Accounts

 

 
At any given time, the average American maintains between 30 and 80 online accounts. These may be with banks, financial institutions, utility companies, email providers, social media outlets, commercial shopping or travel sites and accounts unique to technology such as an account to purchase apps for a smartphone.

Modern estate plans should include an “ePlan” to manage online accounts and online data. There are four specific steps to creating an effective ePlan. These include compiling a list of each account along with an explanation of how each is used; developing a plan for storing electronic information; naming an executor to manage the accounts; and providing appropriate direction to your executor.

1. Compile a List of Accounts and How to Access Them


The first part of an effective ePlan is to gather information and to compile a list of your accounts together with information about the accounts. Your list should specify the username, password account number and a description of what is included in each account. Because passwords frequently change, you should be sure to keep this list up to date.

There are four major types of online accounts: personal, financial, business and social media. Examples of personal accounts include email accounts and those used in conjunction with photos, videos, music and apps for smartphones or tablets. The information associated with these accounts is typically backed up on a computer hard drive, a backup drive or cloud account.

Financial accounts might include savings and checking accounts, retirement accounts, utility accounts, and accounts related to travel and shopping. Increasingly, people are using electronic devices to bank online, including linking accounts for automatic payments, to manage retirement and investment accounts, and to shop online at sites such as Amazon, eBay, airlines and other companies. Online financial accounts also allow for the management of digital currency such as Bitcoin. In many cases, the estate executor will need the account holder’s username, password and account number to identify and access any online financial accounts and to ensure that they can be left to family.

Business related accounts could include intellectual property that is part of a website or blog, including written work, photos, videos and musical compositions and software. If you own business assets like these, be sure to discuss these specific assets with your attorney.

Examples of social media accounts are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. These accounts may be valuable because they contain photos and comments that should be passed on to family. A good ePlan will instruct the executor how to dispose of these assets, such as whether the executor should copy the data from these accounts to share with family and whether to wind down and close these accounts. Social media companies have specific procedures for closing accounts of decedents.

2. Store and Protect Your Information


The second part of an effective ePlan is the development of a plan for storing information. This will involve saving the list that you compiled as well as backing up important data files and account information.

Because an ePlan account list contains sensitive information such as usernames and passwords, it is essential to maintain the security and confidentiality of this list. There are three basic options for securing an ePlan account list. First, this list could be handwritten and stored in a safe place. Second, it could be in electronic format such as a spreadsheet saved to a thumb drive. Extra security measures can be taken to password protect or encrypt the file or drive. Third, there are programs that manage, save and encrypt passwords. These programs allow people to connect multiple devices to a password management program and the program will keep the passwords up to date on each device. If you password protect a file, encrypt a drive or use a password management program, be sure to provide your executor or a loved one with the file password or encryption key or with access to one of your devices so your executor can access the password program.

For purposes of security, and in order to keep the list up to date, maintain a single list. Avoid saving the list on a computer in case of data loss or a data breach. Do not include this list in a will or living trust; these documents may become public. Save the list in a secure location such as in a locked, fireproof home safe or safety deposit box. Some states require that a safety deposit box cannot be opened after the owner passes away without the approval of the probate court. Ask your attorney if you live in one of these states. If you do, consider storing your list in a home safe.

There are several options for maintaining a backup of important electronic information such as pictures, videos, music and archived email. You can back up this information on your personal computer, in a cloud account or on an external backup drive, thumb drive or DVD, which can then be stored in a home safe or safety deposit box.

3. Select Your Digital Executor


After compiling a list and selecting a storage method, the third part of an ePlan will be the selection of a digital executor. Many states have passed laws that give access to online accounts to the executor of an estate. In some cases, however, state law may limit access if the executor does not have the password or an estate plan does not clearly grant powers to the executor to access these accounts. Accordingly, your estate plan should be explicit in the granting of authority with respect to online accounts, and the ePlan should provide the necessary passwords to the executor. Institutions that provide online account access may give the executor access upon a showing of appropriate authorization in the estate plan or, in some cases, may require an order from the probate court. For some accounts such as Bitcoin, the executor will need the password to access the account.

4. Provide Your Executor with "Digital Directions"


The fourth and final part of an ePlan includes a letter of instruction to the digital executor. This letter will tell the executor how to manage your online accounts and digital assets. It may also provide recommendations for the distribution of various accounts, assets, files and information to family. Information in personal accounts, such as photos and videos, can easily be duplicated. Accordingly, the letter may instruct the executor to produce copies of those files to share broadly with family. Assets in any financial accounts will be transferred to your chosen heirs according to your will, trust or beneficiary designation form, after which the financial institutions will close your accounts. A letter can also tell the executor how to manage social media accounts. Options for dealing with social media accounts include transferring account management to a loved one so that the account can remain active and serve as a memorial to the original account holder, or the account can simply be closed down.

Account Specific Information


Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple and other companies have adopted policies to address the situation when an account holder has passed away. These policies may allow an account holder to designate a “Legacy Contact” to manage the account; require specific documentation before a deceased person’s account can be closed, such as a copy of a death certificate, court order, notarized letter or obituary; or automatically close an account after an extended period of inactivity, such as three to twelve months. These policies are subject to change, so a digital executor should familiarize themselves with the policies of each account provider and may need to act quickly to preserve important and sentimental information for family and loved ones.

Protect Your Digital Assets


Digital estate planning is a new and rapidly changing field. By incorporating an ePlan into your estate plan, you can ensure that your executor will take the right steps to preserve and protect these accounts and that valuable and sentimental data can be passed on to family and loved ones.

What Is the Retirement Saver's Credit and How Does It Work?

Can you explain how the retirement saver’s tax credit works? My spouse and I are looking for ways to boost our retirement savings beyond our 401(k)s.

If your income is low to moderate and you participate in your employer-sponsored retirement plan or an IRA, the Retirement Savings Contribution Credit (Saver’s Credit) is a frequently overlooked tool that can help boost your retirement savings. Here is how it works.

If you contribute to a retirement-savings account like a traditional or Roth IRA, 401(k), 403(b), 457, Thrift Savings Plan, Simplified Employee Pension or SIMPLE plan, the Saver’s Credit allows you to claim 10%, 20% or 50% of your contribution of up to $4,000 per year for married taxpayers filing jointly or $2,000 for individual taxpayers.

Keep in mind that a tax credit is not the same as a tax deduction. While a tax deduction merely decreases the portion of your income that is subject to taxes, a tax credit directly lowers your tax liability on a dollar-for-dollar basis and is therefore more advantageous.

To qualify, you must be at least 18 years old, not enrolled as a full-time student and not claimed as a dependent on another individual’s tax return. To qualify, adjusted gross income (AGI) in 2023 must be $73,000 or less for a married couple filing jointly, $54,750 or less if filing as head of household or $36,500 or less if you are a single filer. These income limits are adjusted annually to keep up pace with inflation.

To receive a credit for 50% of your contribution, you will need to have an income below $43,500 for married couples filing jointly, $32,625 if you are filing as head of household and $21,750 if you are a single filer in 2023.

The 20% credit rate applies to married couples earning between $43,501 to $47,500. For head of household filers, it is $32,626 to $35,625 and for individuals it is $21,751 to $23,750.

The 10% rate is for married couples with an adjusted gross income between $47,501 and $73,000. For head of household filers, it is $35,626 to $54,750 and for individuals it is between $23,751 and $36,500.

For example, say that you and your spouse earned $75,000 in 2023. Over the course of the year, you contributed $4,000 to your employer’s 401(k) plan. After deducting your 401(k) contribution, your adjusted gross income (AGI) on your joint return is now $71,000. Since your AGI puts you in the 10% credit bracket, and you have contributed the $4,000 maximum that can be considered for the credit and you are entitled to a $400 Saver’s Credit on your tax return.

It is important to note that the Saver’s Credit is an additional benefit on top of any other tax benefits you get for your retirement contributions. In the previous example, not only would you be entitled to the $400 credit, but you would also be able to exclude the $4,000 401(k) contribution from your taxable income. Therefore, if you are in the 12% tax bracket, this translates to $480 in savings, for a total estimated savings of $880.

How to Claim


To claim the Saver’s Credit, you will need to fill out Form 8880 (IRS.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8880.pdf) and attach it to Form 1040 or 1040NR when you file your tax return.

For more information on the Saver’s Credit, see IRS Publication 590-A “Contributions to Individual Retirement Arrangements” (IRS.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p590a.pdf).

The IRS also offers an online assessment to help you determine if you qualify for the Saver’s Credit. To access it go to IRS.gov/Help/ITA and click on “Do I Qualify for the Retirement Savings Contributions Credit?” under the “Credits” tab. Please consult a tax professional for personalized guidance.

Savvy Living is written by Jim Miller, a regular contributor to the NBC Today Show and author of "The Savvy Living" book. Any links in this article are offered as a service and there is no endorsement of any product. These articles are offered as a helpful and informative service to our friends and may not always reflect this organization's official position on some topics. Jim invites you to send your senior questions to: Savvy Living, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070.

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