One of the worst side effects of the coronavirus pandemic has been a drastic rise in uncertainty. As our collective attentions are turned toward public health, the economy and our personal well-being, there has been an unfortunate rise in identity theft and fraud as scammers attempt to exploit the situation. Particularly within the senior population.
COVID-19 has provided fuel for cyber criminals to prey upon the public’s concern about this global crisis. Recent scams are designed to trick people into sending money, to disclose personal information or to click on emails and websites that deliver computer malware onto the recipients’ computer or network.
Employee contribution limits will remain unchanged next year. The IRS isn’t increasing employee contribution limits for 401(k)s or flexible spending accounts for 2021.
Limits will remain the same with employees being able to defer up to $19,500 into a 401(k), 403(b) and most 457 plans at work. The limits also remain the same for employee catch-up contributions for those 50 and older, at $6,500. Last year saw a $500 jump in the overall employee contribution limit for 2020 plus a $500 rise in the catch-up limit.
For 2021, the dollar limit for employee contributions to flexible spending accounts, made pretax through salary reductions, remains unchanged at $2,750. However, for health FSA plans that permit the carryover of unused amounts, the maximum carryover amount for 2021 is $550, an increase of $50 from the original 2020 carryover limit.
In the past few weeks, an escalating number of clients have hurried to meet by videoconference and phone with their legal advisers.
Mortality is on everyone’s minds. Spurred by the coronavirus pandemic, clients who I haven't touched their legal documents in years as well as prospective new clients, have been reaching out to update their existing estate planning documents, or write new ones.
COVID-19 has caused scores of people to write Wills and make critical estate planning decisions about who will oversee their medical care and finances if they become ill or incapacitated. Yet, more than 50 percent of people age 55-plus do not have a Will or the other key estate planning documents they might need during the pandemic, according to Caring.com.
Simple, essential steps for putting your affairs in order
The steady drone of coronavirus news this year has spurred countless older Americans to face a long-procrastinated task: writing — or rewriting — their wills. A 2016 Gallup poll found that more than 30 percent of people 65 and older and more than 40 percent of people ages 50 through 64, do not have a will. The main reasons people stall, according to Caring.com? Most say they haven't gotten around to it, or they don't have enough assets to leave to anyone.
Ways for you and your family to stay safe
More than 280,000 Americans had died of COVID-19 as of early December, and 95 percent of COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have occurred among people who were 50 or older, and preexisting conditions such as obesity, heart disease, autoimmune diseases and type 2 diabetes make the coronavirus infection even riskier.
We have isolated ourselves for more than nine months, and the psychological toll of COVID is still very real. A study from early in the pandemic found “moderate” and “severe” depression symptoms had tripled, and this holiday we are missing our friends and loved ones more than ever.
So how can we safely celebrate the holidays at the end of such a long and lousy year?