Protect Yourself and the Organizations You Serve



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.

Agency Protection

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.

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College Kids and Grandchildren: Don’t Forget These Documents


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.

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Friendship Days: Take Time to be Kind

As we celebrate our freedom living in the U.S.A. in July, remember that the world generally seems too filled with hate, fighting and mistrust. We all need to stop and reverse this trend, and one way is to join in on the International Day of Friendship. ...
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Retirement Jobs


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 or the Encore Career Network at

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
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Joint and Survivorship Accounts

Pros, Cons and Everything In Between

The Scoop on Joint and Survivorship Accounts





The Goal for Most People? Avoid Probate.

One method:

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

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Financial Planning


It Pays to Coordinate

Financial Planning


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.

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Estate Planning for Second Marriages – “What to Do Before Saying “I Do”

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

• Cost-sharing

• 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.


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.

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Crazy Laws – Keep Your Retirement Dreams – but Watch Out

As you plan for retirement, it just might be the time to try to realize your lifelong dreams. You’ve put them off long enough; now you actually have the time. Great idea. But please be sure to follow the law when you do. There are some crazy laws on the books that just might put a damper on your plans.


For example, if you love to play bingo, and just never had time before, don’t retire to North Carolina. It’s illegal to play bingo there for more than five hours in a row. Or, if you would rather sing when you move there, you’d better be really good. Singing off-key also is prohibited.

If you vacation in Wyoming, and like to take pictures, remember that it’s illegal to take a picture of a rabbit from January to April without a permit. In Idaho, you can eat all the potatoes you want, but never wear a fake mustache in a church.

Alaskan cruises are beautiful, and you may dream of a long vacation by sea and by land. However, if the weather proves to be a bit too cold for you, be careful if you stop at a bar for some warming spirits. You are not allowed to be drunk in a bar. And right here in Ohio, it’s illegal to get a fish drunk.


If you enjoy the holidays and wish they could last forever, don’t move to Maine. Decorations have to be removed and stored by Jan. 14. On the other side of the country, they don’t like folks with a sweet tooth; lollipops are banned in Washington.

Florida women might have their dreams dashed because unmarried females cannot parachute on Sundays. The need to protect women is somewhat understandable.

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