Posts Tagged ‘rockville maryland’

Identity Theft – Offense is the Best Defense

Posted on: May 5th, 2010 by

Financial Planning - Rockville, MDWhile hackings of corporate databases demonstrate that no one is completely safe from identity theft, there are precautions you can take in order to minimize the odds of becoming a victim.  The first thing is to absolutely, at all costs, protect your Social Security number.  Do not print it on any form of personal identification, especially your checks.  Never carry your Social Security card in your wallet and try to avoid using it as a personal identifier when at all possible.  You never know who will have access to that data later.

Second, protect your mail.  To make your mailbox a less attractive target for identity thieves, try to reduce the amount of unsolicited offers you receive.  When you receive pre-approved credit card offers or insurance offers in the mail, shred them before you discard them.  You can opt out of receiving pre-approved offers simply by going to a free website called

Remember to either cancel your mail or have someone pick it up for you daily when you go on vacation.  If you don’t, the mounting pile of mail looks like a goldmine to con artists.  Also, they look at your trash as a prime target.  Any items that you plan to discard, including credit card offers, ATM receipts, bank statements, utility bills, or anything with any personal information on it should be shredded.   When you are disposing of expired credit cards, make sure they, too, are completely destroyed before discarding them.

Beware of the ever present telephone scam artists as well.  High-pressure callers often demand personal information with scams such as the promise of an extravagant vacation that you can only have if you act now.  I would just go with the rule that you should never provide personal information over the phone if you did not initiate the call.  And to limit these calls, you can ask the callers to place you on the do-not-call list and register with the National Do Not Call Registry.

Always safeguard your computer.  This is one of the easiest ways to get hit nowadays.  Never respond to unsolicited requests for personal information and ALWAYS use virus protection.  Protect your computer with a password and change it on a regular basis.  Another good idea is from time to time, search the internet for your name and last 4 digits of your SSN.  You would be surprised what people have found.

Make sure you protect the contents of your wallet.  On the backs of your credit cards, instead of signing them, write “photo ID required”; if your credit cards are stolen, it will be more difficult for a thief to make purchases.  Its always a good idea to make photocopies of everything in your wallet, since many of us have such an over abundance, so it your wallet is stolen, you have all the information you need to cancel everything.

Its a sad state of affairs when not even the deceased are safe from identity theft.  But, when a loved one does pass away, obtain several copies of the official death certificate and notify all financial institutions, insurance companies, credit card companies, and loan holders.  Its extremely important to remove the deceased relative’s name from all joint accounts as well.  And finally, contact the credit bureaus and request a deceased alert so that if their credit report is pulled, companies know the person is deceased and no credit should be issued in their name.

Identity theft is, unfortunately, a daily crime that we must all pay attention to and not stick our heads in the sand.  Your best tool is to take the offensive and do everything in your power to prevent the thieves from targeting you.  If you notice any suspicious activity on your financial statements, report it immediately and notify the credit bureaus.

Rockville, Maryland – When Should You Begin Estate Planning?

Posted on: March 15th, 2010 by

Estate Planning - Rockville CPARockville, Maryland – Contrary to popular belief, estate planning is not just for the elderly; it’s a necessity for people of all ages, especially those with children.  Not only do you need to determine who will care for your children in the event that you are unable, the people you choose must be willing to do so, and it must all be well documented in writing.  Once this decision is made, you can start thinking about your property and your possessions.

An estate plan is a living document that will grow in volume as you and your family advance in life.  Just as your financial planner in Rockville encourages you to revise your financial plan on an annual basis, your estate plan should be reviewed and revised as needed.  There are a number of basic steps for a solid estate plan, but are by no means inclusive of the entire process.  Each step your chosen estate planner in Rockville goes over with you is important to address at each of the different stages throughout your life.

Rockville, Maryland – What Is Estate Planning?

Posted on: March 15th, 2010 by

Rockville, MarylandRockville, Maryland – Although, one’s estate can most easily be defined as his or her property, there is no precise definition for estate planning.  It is, generally, a series of steps to be taken so that when you die, your property will be handled in a way that reflects your values and wishes regarding your survivors and any charitable interests you may have.

A good estate plan is designed to bring reality in line with your desires to the greatest extent possible, given the limitations and practical problems you may face.  The drafting of this plan will usually include candid family discussions, drafting a will and trust, changing the designated beneficiaries on certain accounts, buying life insurance (and which type to buy), etc.  As for limitations or “problems”, the most common include insufficient money to fund all of your goals and survivors who do not act as hoped or expected.

The most important thing to remember is that an estate plan needs to be given adequate thought and consideration.  If you hire the best estate planner in Rockville, MD for you, who has your best interest in mind, the process is not as daunting as you may fear.