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Making an estate plan, protecting your assets, and choosing the right health provider are all things on the minds of seniors here in the Scenic City at one time or another. Thankfully, Chattanooga is home to some stellar teams and experts to help as each need rises to the surface.

Putting customers' needs first has always been a number one priority for the folks at Beltone, and now especially in uncertain times and with so many of their clients in the senior population, the company is working to do that now more than ever.

President Perry Ebel shared this an area where Beltone really shines when it comes to professional attention to helping their people.

"The hearing aid market is a fairly active one and widespread in that you can find devices sold on TV for as little as $30 all the way up to thousands and thousands," Ebel said. "It can make it confusing as far as someone looking at how much do I spend, and what am I getting for my money?"

Not only that, but with the current pandemic underway, folks may be nervous about coming in to the office, and they have good reason to want to make sure they stay well and safe.

"At Beltone, when you purchase a device from us, we provide all the after care at no cost, and thanks to the AMAZE products, we can do any adjustments remotely from a smartphone," Ebel said, noting that clients can have the option to get help and maintenance at home for whatever the reason.

He went on to share that, that decision to not charge for after care was made very early on in the life of the company for many reasons including seniors who live on a limited income being able to get the help they need without worrying about what it would cost.

"It's been our way all along," Ebel stressed. "When you compare us to others out there, we're in the middle to high end price range, but if when you look at all the care included, we're very inexpensive."

To learn more or to schedule an appointment, visit beltonesouth.com or call 1-888-906-5246.

Then there's the matter of your estate, in particular, what it means after the Secure Act passed in 2019. While most of the provisions of the Secure Act are beneficial and are intended to encourage an individual's access to employer created retirement plans, the provision requiring non-spouses to distribute inherited IRA's over a period of ten (10) years could have a substantial impact on estate plans consisting mostly of retirement benefits. It is common for estate planners who are dealing with estates consisting of mostly retirement plan assets to name a trust as the beneficiary of those assets in order to save income taxes by "stretching" the payments over time, which is typically the life expectancy of the owner of the plan, or the trust beneficiary.  Grant, Konalinka, & Harrison, P.C. is here to help guide you through all these decisions.

In addition, a trust can provide some peace of mind by providing certain creditor protections that may be necessary or beneficial to your beneficiaries. With respect to estate planning, this is often accomplished by using a "conduit trust" or an "accumulation trust" to manage the distributions from certain high value retirement accounts. An accumulation trust allows the trustee to accumulate the required minimum distribution ("RMD") received by the trust and pay out trust income and/or principal at the trustee's discretion.

Depending on your own situation, you may decide to convert your conduit trust to an accumulation trust giving the trustee more discretion to make distributions past the mandated 10-year payout. In addition, you may want to consider converting your traditional IRA to a Roth IRA, and pay some tax now in order to allow for 10 years of tax-free accumulation and distributions after your death.

Grant, Konvalinka & Harrison, P.C. is located at Republic Centre, Ninth Floor 633 Chestnut Street and can be reached at 423-756- 8400.

During times of uncertainty, especially now in the wake of COVID-19, many individuals find it important to update and add to their legal documents. Having all the necessary documents in place can help reduce the stress on families, especially in these challenging times.

The team at Cumberland Trust is working to educate seniors on a few of the important personal healthcare documents. An estate planning attorney can advise on which documents would be appropriate for you and your family:

1. Living Will – a written statement detailing a person's desires regarding their medical treatment in circumstances in which they are no longer able to express informed consent, especially an advance directive.

2. Health Care Power of Attorney- a document with which a patient appoints an agent to legally make healthcare decisions on behalf of the patient (when the patient is incapable of making and executing the healthcare decisions stipulated in the document). Once the healthcare power of attorney is in effect, the agent may, depending on the terms of the document, continue making healthcare decisions as long as the primary individual is legally incompetent to make decisions.

Cumberland's team members have the experience and compassion needed to provide extra assistance to those clients who may need it, and to support families through life's transitions. They collaborate with your accountant, estate planning attorney, and financial advisor to help guide the wealth transfer process, and to follow the plan you have put in place.

Call or email Jean Jack- son for more information and/or to arrange an office visit: 423-664-9747 or jjackson@cumberlandtrust.com. Visit cumberlandtrust.com to learn more about Cumberland Trust's services, their teams, and general information about trust and estate administration.

And now with Americans living longer and weighing more than they used to, physicians have seen a significant increase of severe degenerative arthritis. When the cartilage, or cushion, of the knee is worn down to bone, most Orthopedic surgeons will recommend total knee replacement (TKR) only. This recommendation is made even though more often than not, only one of the 3 compartments of the knee is affected. That means that the other 2 compartments, despite being healthy, are resurfaced with metal and plastic. However, total knee replacement is not your only choice.

However, Dr. Martin Redish is working to educate his patients about all options. Though upwards of 95% of knee replacements performed in the United States are total knee replacement procedures, that procedure has its drawbacks. Some studies have demonstrated that a total knee replacement has a patient dissatisfaction rate of almost 20%. Furthermore, total knee replacement does exactly what its name suggests – it completely replaces the surface of the knee. In order to do that, a surgeon must remove ligaments (usually the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and/or the posterior cruciate ligament (PCL)). And, regardless of whether the problem exists in only one part of your knee, a total knee procedure essentially sacrifices the functioning part of your knee to address the problem area.

A total knee replacement is a final procedure. Once it is completed, the only option a patient has is to have a revision if necessary. As Bob Eberle, the Director of Clinical Affairs at Maxx Orthopedics points out, "Knee replacements are becoming more common among younger patients. As a result, they expect the procedure to last." But, this is not always the case and sometimes a second operation must be performed if the patient has had the total knee replacement early in life. At that point, a replacement of the replacement is the only option.

As a patient, it is important to be sure that you pursue the right course of treatment. While you should not discount the recommendations or suggestions of a surgeon, it is perfectly acceptable to ask questions. It is also a good idea to perform your own research to ensure that you are exhausting all options. To that end, understanding your surgical options regarding knee replacement means knowing that other options exist.

To learn more about MIPKR, its benefits, and whether the procedure is right for you, contact Dr. Redish's office at 423-493-5220 or visit his website at partialkneedoc.com .

Finally, when it comes to the vast world of the internet, security is priority number one, and often also a top fear, especially for the senior population. However, during these days of the novel coronavirus, ordering and working online is an essential for most everyone, so it's important now more than ever to be sure your personal information remains safe and secure. With this in mind, the professionals at SouthEast Bank are working to help seniors, and the community at large, to keep in mind some key points to be sure their identities and banking information remains intact:

1. Be extra cautious of emails from unknown senders. If you don't recognize the source, or the link doesn't match the subject, it's probably fraudulent.

2. Protect your devices. Keep your computer, phone, and any device you use up-to-date with the latest software security.

3. Be creative with passwords: The more complex a password is, the harder it is for someone to figure it out.

4. Keep what you share on social media selective. You may think you only need to be selective when sharing private information, such as passwords, banking information, Social Security numbers, addresses, etc. But criminals can use even the most unlikely details to target you.

5. Watch out for specific COVID-19 scammers: Scammers are using spoof emails to look like they are from credible and authoritative organizations like the CDC, WHO, or Human Resources from employers. However, like any phishing email, they all contain links or attachments trying to get you to click and give your personal data.

6. Be careful using public Wi-Fi. While we're all social distancing right now, public Wi-Fi is still something to keep in mind if you're just sitting in your car waiting for a grocery pickup or when things go back to normal. When you're in a restaurant, coffee shop, hotel, or another public place, make sure you confirm with an employee before connecting to the Wi-Fi network.

To learn more about SouthEast Bank, and their Chattanooga-area branches, contact them at 1-844-732-2657. SouthEast Bank is Member FDIC.

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