Volunteers are the backbone of many organizations, especially nonprofits. Without their tireless work, many organizations would be unable to provide valuable services.
Nonprofits are involved with many activities that may expose the organization, the officers and the volunteers to potential liability. We might not have as many volunteers if they faced liability for their acts. Fortunately, federal and state governments have laws in place to help.
Protections for You
In 1997, Congress passed the Volunteer Protection Act (VPA) to provide protection from lawsuits that might be filed against individual volunteers for nonprofit organizations for activities they do on behalf of the organization.
Ohio has a similar law that also protects volunteers so they can be confident that their good work doesn’t expose them to legal liability.
The federal and state volunteer protection laws provide that an unpaid volunteer of a nonprofit organization or a government entity acting within the scope of their responsibility are not liable for ordinary, accidental negligence.
The law doesn’t cover willful or criminal misconduct, gross or reckless negligence, or a conscious or flagrant indifference to the rights or safety of the individual harmed. It doesn’t cover injuries caused by operating a motor vehicle. It also does not cover volunteers for businesses or the organization using the volunteer.
However, if you volunteer for AARP or for a political campaign, as long as you use common sense and perform lawful acts within the scope of your work, you can’t be sued for your actions.
What about the organizations? How are they protected? Under the VPA, organizations can be sued for wrongful acts of their volunteers. Luckily, most larger nonprofits have insurance to cover this, and the insurance will pay. Unfortunately, some smaller nonprofits or organizations might not be able to afford insurance. One horrible mistake could put them out of business....
College Kids and Grandchildren
As your child heads off to college (or as you watch your grandchild head off ) you feel a sense of relief and, of course, sadness as your baby moves to the next stage of life.
You’ve purchased the dorm room supplies — a small refrigerator, dorm-size sheets, new towels, decorations — and you are prepared to drive, fly or otherwise get them to their campus on time. Can you sit back and put up your feet on a job well done? Maybe not; there might just be one last task you need to check off your to-do list.
College Student Paperwork
As your child or grandchild gets older, you have less control over their life. This also becomes legally true when they turn 18. Once that happens, you do not automatically have the right to speak to their doctors, for example. Your child’s finances (even if you are supporting them) are private as well. So, you need them to sign three critical documents: a Health Care Power of Attorney with a HIPAA Release, a Durable Power of Attorney, and a Last Will and Testament.
The Health Care Power of Attorney allows you, after your child is 18, to make medical decisions if the child cannot do so.
When your child is younger than 18, you can make all medical decisions for them. That changes after they turn 18 and you lose that right. If they’re in an accident and are unable to make medical decisions for themselves, a Health Care Power of Attorney signed in advance would allow you to be their health care agent.
The HIPAA release form also is important. Many parents are probably still paying medical bills for their college-age students and helping them make medical decisions....
Want to Have Fun in Retirement?
Keep Working (Just a Bit)
By Laurie G. Steiner
You finally retired from your job.
For some, that is a welcome relief — the end of a career they are happy to put behind them. For others forced to retire when they didn’t want to, depression and frustration may set in. For still others, retirement might mean financial ruin because of health care costs.
If you have energy to burn, want to try something new, or need a job to make ends meet, finding your passion is the key to enjoying work after retirement. Working at a job that you’re passionate about can be invigorating, meaningful and engaging while keeping your mind and body sharp. Research shows that people who work well into their 70s, 80s and even 90s live longer than those who don’t work.
What You Know
Ageism can be a barrier to finding a new job. Focus on your accomplishments and achievements, not necessarily your skills. Highlight decision-making and supervising abilities. Who can benefit from your talents and experiences? If you need help, start online with workforce50.com or the Encore Career Network at matureservices.org.
Ideas for post-retirement employment:
- Write (especially if you were an English teacher). This could include writing training manuals for a company or copy for product marketing. Consider contract or freelance opportunities.
- Teach or consult. Share your knowledge from your work years with students or others in your field.
- Count. If you have a flair for numbers, become a bookkeeper or tax preparer. You could be a lifesaver for someone who can’t balance their checkbook.
- Sell. Retail jobs offer some of the most reliable jobs for retirees. Meet new people and stay connected to your community. Some, such as Starbucks, offer health benefits.
- Make. Crafters and artists can make and sell at local craft shows or online on Etsy.com.
Pros, Cons and Everything In Between
The Scoop on Joint and Survivorship Accounts
The Goal for Most People? Avoid Probate.
Joint and Survivorship accounts
Got it. How does that work?
Two people set it up
When one dies, the other owns it
Good for spouses
So what can go wrong?
Multiple owners—who gets what?
Parents leave to one child, not others
Creditors of one owner can attach the account
Divorce of one owner
What is better for non-spouses?
Payable on Death to Child
Transfer on Death to Child
Transfer on Death to Child or by Naming the Child the Beneficiary...
It Pays to Coordinate
Steve had a big decision to make.
His daughter was getting married, and he wanted to give her the wedding of her dreams. To do it, he dipped into his IRA. Although the wedding was everything he and his daughter had hoped, it pushed him up into a new tax bracket, costing him thousands of dollars in additional taxes. This caused his Medicare premiums to skyrocket by more than 40 percent for the following year as well.
Steve had the resources he needed to give his daughter the wedding she wanted, but because of a lack of coordination and understanding, he paid thousands in unnecessary taxes. His mistake was focusing on only a single aspect of a major decision.
Consider a Financial Quarterback
Steve’s situation explains why it’s important that all your advisers are connected and understand the big picture. When you make a major decision like Steve did, there will be outcomes you might not have considered.
So how do you make financial decisions that have been reviewed from every angle? Try a holistic approach to your financial health that includes professionals who will help with all of your tax, insurance, legal and financial planning needs.
New advisers should be open to working with existing advisers whom you know and trust as well. It’s important for each adviser to be aware of what another is doing. Using a network of connected advisers helps people decide which decision is right for their situation.
Coordination gives clients a peace of mind that saves time and money, and lets them focus on more important things — such as wedding plans. Your goal should be to find an adviser that will make sure every financial decision is examined through the lens of all the available options so nothing is missed....
Remarriages are on the rise. Four of every 10 marriages are now remarriages, and half of previously married seniors have remarried again, according to a Pew Research Center study.
Let’s say partners each have children from a first marriage, and they are getting married. What issues do they need to think about? In addition to all of the family dynamics, there are many economic and personal issues they need to consider, such as:
• Income taxes
• Prenuptial agreements
• Pension, 401k and Social Security benefits
• Estate planning documents
Consider the following real-life example. A couple remarried in their 50s. They each had children from a first marriage. The husband died 20 years later. He wanted to provide for his second wife. His will stated all of his assets went to his wife, with the understanding that on his wife’s death those assets would go back to his children.
However, what actually happened is when the husband died, the surviving wife — who lived a long time after that — simply combined their assets. On her death, the money went to her children. The husband’s children got nothing. They did not believe their father meant to do that with his assets. He didn’t, but he didn’t plan properly.
So, what should he have done? He should have set up what is commonly called a marital trust. The trust would have held the assets for his second wife when he died, but upon the wife’s passing the assets would go to his children. The trust document prohibits the widow from transferring the assets to her children.
LIFE CHANGES REQUIRE UPDATES
As for other important documents, everyone should have a durable financial power of attorney, durable health care power of attorney and a living will declaration. When you divorce or get married, update documents to reflect your new situation....