April 20, 2018

What should you do with an inheritance?

While you can't plan on receiving an inheritance, if that happens, what should you do? Above all, don’t rush to act - especially if you're in the midst of the grieving process. It can be hard to make good decisions about money.

You may want to consider “parking” your inheritance temporarily in cash while you can think about what to do. Here are a few ideas:

Get rid of debts. Use your inheritance to pay off debts, especially consumer loans that aren't tax-deductible and that carry high interest rates. You may want to use part of it to pay off student loans, if that's your situation.

Establish an emergency fund. This should be six to 12 months’ worth of living expenses. Without it, you may be forced to dip into your investments to pay for unexpected costs, such as an expensive car or home repair or a hefty medical bill.

http://www.downeastsharpening.com/Review your financial strategy. If your inheritance is large enough, it may be a “game changer” in terms of your financial strategy. For example, you might be able to think about retiring earlier, if that’s what you want. Or pay more of your children’s college education. Or put a down payment on a house. Your financial advisor can help you make the most appropriate moves for your personal strategy.

Plan for taxes. Unless you're “inheriting” your spouse’s assets, you may be subject to taxes. Some
types of inheritance, such as life insurance policy proceeds, are tax-free. On the other hand, if you inherit a 401(k) plan from someone other than your spouse, you'll likely have to take the money as a lump sum, which means your inheritance will be subject to federal, state and local income taxes. 

However, you can transfer an inherited 401(k) to an IRA, which allows you to avoid immediately paying taxes on your inheritance. You’ll still have to take annual withdrawals, which are taxable, but the amount will be based on your life expectancy, so you can spread out the taxes. If you receive an inherited 401(k), consult with your tax advisor on the right approach for you.

And have some fun. It's likely the person who left the inheritance cared about you and your happiness. So, as you think about what to do with the money, remember it's OK to have a little fun.

After Auto Accidents: Mobile Help and Quick Tips

This article was brought to you courtesy of Tricia Zwirner, your local State Farm Agent located in Windham. 
Although no two auto accidents are alike, there are preparation and post-accident steps that every driver should take - like downloading your insurer’s mobile app.
Here’s what you need to know before an auto accident:

Remember APB: Always Be Prepared

Download a copy of your insurer’s mobile app and register your account. Many carriers have mobile apps that enable you to have an accessible digital copy of your insurance card as well as agent contact information.

Stash a copy of your insurance card and registration in your vehicle.

Keep a camera handy to document any post-accident damage. If you don’t have a phone that could be used for this purpose, consider spending a few dollars on a disposable camera to keep in your vehicle.

After an Auto Accident

http://www.thewindhameagle.com/ads/sappier.jpgAsk yourself: Is anyone hurt? If so, immediately contact emergency services for help.
Always call the police, no matter the severity of the accident. If the accident is minor, you may be asked to file a police report on your own, which you should do.

Get out of the way, if you can. If the vehicles are drivable, move them to a spot on the shoulder or otherwise out of the way of traffic.

Turn on your hazard lights and set up emergency cones if you have them.

Get out of the vehicle unless it is unsafe to do so.

Use the mobile app to contact Roadside Assistance for towing help or call AAA/a local tow company.

Record all the details.

Call your agent or use the mobile app to alert your insurance carrier that you’ve been in an accident.

Share your insurance and contact details with everyone involved in the accident.
Ask the other driver(s) to share their details, too. This information will be needed once fault and financial responsibility are established. Make sure to record if they are the car owners and if they have any passengers in their car. Also, be sure to secure witness contact information, too!
Take notes about what you remember of the accident and save your photos in a special folder in your photos app. Upload the photos to your carrier’s app, if able.

Ask for and keep a copy of the police report. Upload it too, if able.

What Happens Next

The accident will be investigated to determine who is at fault and outline who is financially responsible for repairs and other costs, including medical bills. Provide as much information to your claims department as possible and stay in touch with them until a liability determination is made.  Be sure to contact them directly with your claims related questions.

What You Should Never Do

https://www.egcu.org/boatDon’t try to assign blame.
Don’t sign anything from anyone other than the police.
Don’t leave the scene.
Don’t refuse medical treatment if you believe you are injured.

Local Girl Scout troop donates cookies to soldiers

Daisy Girl Scout Troop 695 from Windham collected cookie donations to send to soldiers in Afghanistan. They ended up with two giant boxes filled with multiple cases of Girl Scout cookies that the girls boxed up along with handmade cards. 

“We were so excited when we received a video message thanking the girls for the cookies,” stated Nicole Buzzell, Troup Leader. “One of the oversized boxes will be shared by soldiers and they will be bringing the other one to an orphanage in Afghanistan.”