National Pill Take-Back Day this Saturday, Oct. 29

One of the biggest headaches I see is going into a client’s home and seeing numerous half-empty (or even barely touched) bottles of unused and unneeded prescription medication. You probably have some of these in your house — the bottles which you can’t bring yourself to throw away “just in case” you need them, even though the expiration date was five years ago.

For many years, we’ve been told to flush this stuff down the toilet. The resulting problem is that we’re now all drinking minute quantities of antibiotics, Viagra, Percocet, and who-knows-what-else with every glass of water. It’s not healthy for us and it’s certainly not healthy of the environment. But you don’t want this stuff just hanging around the house — the risk of accidental poisoning and overdose is just too great.

So, this Saturday, October 29, from 10 AM to 2 PM is your chance to get rid of all this stuff. The Drug Enforcement Administration has a searchable list of locations where you can take your old drugs. Many police stations and pharmacies are participating.

Besides, don’t you need to clean your medicine cabinets anyway?

Another area of estate planning — frequent flyer miles and credit card perks

Well, you can’t take them with you…. why not make sure that your frequent flyer miles and credit card perks benefit someone who can use them?  Forbes Magazine has a nifty article about how to transfer those miles — assuming the airline’s program lets you.

To see what you need to do, you and your estate planner need to carefully review the small print in the program’s manual and decide what may work best given the rules and your plans for future usage. Depending on what’s allowed, you might wish to make lifetime transfers, add people to your account and/or leave them by designation in your Will. Your power of attorney may need to have language which specifically directs transfers if you’re incapacitated.

Keep in mind that there is usually a charge to redeem or transfer these benefits, so you’ll want to expressly authorize your attorney-in-fact or executor to use your cash for that purpose.

Good News — Sort of — for Social Security Recipients

For the first time in three years, there will be a cost-of-living increase in checks issued by the Social Security Administration. It is expected that the agency will announce a 3.5% raise in payments to seniors.

The bad news? A good chunk of this raise is likely to be offset by a jump in the Medicare Part B premium for roughly 75% or so of Medicare beneficiaries who are not low-income”dual eligibles” or high-income beneficiaries that already pay an additional premium.

A good explanation of the more complex aspect of this issue can be found here.