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The 2014 Jackson County Senior Expo, held at the Scottsboro-Goose Pond Civic Center on Thursday, was a rousing success.

The Jackson County AARP and Cloverdale Manor sponsored this year’s expo that was attended by over 1,000 people and included 75 booths from area businesses, civic organizations and churches.

We're always interested in hearing about news in our community. Let us know what's going on!

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Local Salvation Army director Stacey Ridgeway served as the guest speaker for Tuesday’s Jackson County AARP meeting. During her speech, she reminded everyone assembled at the Jackson County Senior Center of what her organization is for.

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No more paper checks in the mail. Starting March 1, nearly everyone who receives Social Security must switch to the government's new electronic payment system. Beneficiaries will be able to have their checks directly deposited into their bank account or put on to a debit card.

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On January 2, 2013, the Taxpayer Relief Act went into effect and prevented the country from going over the fiscal cliff. In a previous article, I outlined the provisions from this Act regarding estate taxes. This article will address some of the major provisions of the Act.

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The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the 2013 federal guidelines for how much money the spouses of institutionalized Medicaid recipients may keep and the limit on how much a home can be worth for its owner to still qualify for Medicaid.

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As you probably know, Congress avoided the so-called fiscal cliff by passing – at the 11th hour – the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 (the 2012 Tax Act), signed into law by the President on January 2, 2013. The 2012 Tax Act makes several important revisions to the tax code that will affect estate planning for the foreseeable future. What follows is a brief description of some of these revisions – and their impact:

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The cost of long-term care increased significantly, according to the 2012 MetLife Market Survey of Nursing Home, Assisted Living, Adult Day Services, and Home Care Costs. Private room nursing home rates jumped 3.8 percent to $90,520 a year or $248 a day, while assisted living facility costs rose 2.1 percent on average to $42,600 a year or $3,550 a month.

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Presently, there are no taxes on estates that are under $5 million. This changes on January 1, 2013. Beginning in January, if you die with an estate of over $1 million, the estate will be taxed at a rate of 55 percent.  In other words, over half of your estate will be paid to the government for estate taxes.

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Vera Lindsay, Howard Wright and Maxine Wright, seated left to right, enjoyed celebrating their July birthdays last week at the Scottsboro Senior Center with Bingo and refreshments. They are pictured with Ollie Wood, Scottsboro Senior Program Coordinator and Charles Hall, who calls Bingo for …

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Scottsboro Senior Center has a library and due to the generosity of so many people, there are more books than space is available to display them.

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Presently, there are no taxes on estates that are under $5 million. This changes on January 1, 2013.  Beginning in January, if you die with an estate of over $1 million, the estate will be taxed at a rate of 55 percent. In other words, over half of your estate will be paid to the government for estate taxes.

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MONTGOMERY — The Alabama SenioRx Program is celebrating its tenth anniversary this month.  Although some counties have been operating a prescription assistance program much longer, the SenioRx program began operating statewide in 2002.

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The 100 degree heat wave may have passed – for now – but the high heat remains dangerous, especially for older citizens. 

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During the month of July, all educators and school personnel, both current and retired, are eligible to take the AARP classroom drivers’ training course for just $5 per person. 

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Now that the health care law has been declared constitutional, the remaining provisions will be going into effect. One little known provision is a new 3.8 percent investment income surtax, also called the health care surtax or the Medicare tax; it will go into effect on January 1, 2013.

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1.   The Senior is married — Unlike other areas of law, Medicaid does not care how your assets are titled.  Medicaid does not care if there is a prenuptial agreement.  This means that any asset held by either spouse is going to be counted as a resource for Medicaid spend down purposes. This …

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The Alabama Cooperative Extension System is teaming up with the Alabama Department of Public Health, physicians and several local organizations to bring about awareness to prostate cancer. This year’s theme is “Help us Create a Buzz about Blue.”

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Life insurance is a blessing for most people. Life insurance allows widows and widowers to pay off mortgages and keep their home. It allows them to have the resources they need so they will not suffer financially from theloss of their spouse. 

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MONTGOMERY — The Alabama Department of Senior Services is now accepting nominations for the Alabama Senior Citizens Hall of Fame, but the deadline is quickly approaching.  The deadline to nominate a deserving senior is Friday, June 15.

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Members of the Scottsboro City Senior Center like to have fun.

They also like to make people laugh.

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My article last week covered a type of trust that can be used to help reduce estate taxes, the Grantor-Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT). This article will focus on Grantor-Retained Unitrusts (GRUT) and the benefits of both GRATs and GRUTs for reducing estate taxes. 

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Various types of irrevocable trusts can be used for asset protection purposes and to reduce estate taxes. The purpose of this article is to discuss the reduction of estate taxes through the use of a Grantor-Retained Annuity Trust (GRAT). 

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One universal human trait is the need for control of one’s own life. This striving for control becomes apparent early in babies and it ceases only when the person no longer has the mental capacity to recognize and understand his or her environment.

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Television, movies, and the news have generally educated the public to know that if a person is injured in some way, due to the negligence or carelessness of another, that a lawsuit may yield a big money settlement or judgment.

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A group of senior adults gathered at the Community Action Agency last week to sign up for the county's Yellow Dot program.

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The members of the Jackson County Chapter of AARP recently enjoyed a look back at life in Scottsboro in the days when Scottsboro native, Joyce Kennamer grew up as the youngest of nine children.

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Preventing a denial by Medicaid begins before a senior ever completes the Medicaid application.  It is at this point that legal advice is critical to properly protect assets and qualify for Medicaid benefits.

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Visitors to the Scottsboro Senior Center can get exercise on their own in the facility's exercise room or by taking any of several classes.

Beginning and advanced Tai Chi classes are offered at the Center each week.

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Over the last decade, it has become very common to see celebrities transporting their pets in cute purses or backpacks and dressing them in everything from sweatsuits to diamond collars

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Forty years is a long time. It can feel like an eternity or it can seem to fly by.

For Eloise Maynor her time working in the Scottsboro City School System has been enjoyable. You could say 40 years has flown by.

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Just a few years before relocating to Scottsboro, Arlene Grede was given a top secret assignment.

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Revere mortgages allow a homeowner to tap into a home’s equity.  Repayment is delayed until the homeowner ceases to use the home as the principal residence.

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Spring is here in all its glory.  Usually, that means people begin cleaning out closets and ridding the house of all the dusty stuffiness accumulated during the long winter months.

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Occasionally a spouse attempts to leave his or her spouse out of the Will.

In other words, for whatever reason, that spouse does not want the surviving spouse to inherit anything the spouse owned.

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There was music and dancing, but most of all there was fun for all involved in the Hillbilly Hoedown held recently at the Scottsboro Senior Center.

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Medicare is available for people age 65 or older, younger people with disabilities and people with End Stage Renal Disease (permanent kidney failure requiring dialysis or transplant).

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As parents progress through their senior years, children find that the role of caregiver changes so that the children are caring for the parents.

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Long term care insurance can be a blessing when services are needed to care for a senior.  Depending on the policy, benefits may be provided for home health care, assisted living care, and/or care in a skilled nursing facility.

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The “Yellow Dot” and the “CodeRED” programs came to the Jackson County Chapter of AARP, last week at the Jackson County Senior Center.

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Jackson County Council on Aging offers a variety of services to seniors in Jackson County. Six centers provide hot well balanced meals in the centers as well as activities and information. Meals are also delivered from these centers to the homebound elderly who have nobody else to prepare a meal for them.