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Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Women, Divorce and the Economic Realities


Each year, nearly 2.8 million men and women go through Divorce. In the first year after the Divorce is final, a wife’s standard of living may drop almost 27 percent. Compare that to her husband’s standard of living—it may increase by as much as 10 percent! In the nearly 20 years that Guideway has been assisting our clients with Divorce, it’s hardly surprising that women are concerned about financial survival in the high-priced Bay Area.

Many factors contribute to lowering the standard of living         

Women generally end up with custody of the kids, and child support may not be enough to cover the actual cost of child rearing. For stay-at-home moms or those who held part-time jobs, getting back into the workforce and finding well-paying jobs is extremely difficult. It takes years to get on a career path to start making a good living. Divorce is expensive—there are court costs, therapist bills, getting established in new living situations based on a single paycheck. If you are contemplating divorce, now is the time to rethink your spending. Where can you cut back and start saving money that you’re going to need?

Do your research. Talk to single moms; consult with a financial adviser

If you’re contemplating Divorce, start doing some research. Talk to your friends who are single moms. Be fully aware of just how difficult it will be—especially if you don’t have family to help with the kids. Consult with a lawyer and a financial advisor. Make sure you’ve fully considered the impact of Divorce on your kids, your spouse and your life. Think about timing. If you’ve been married nine years, you might want to stick out the last year, so you can collect on your ex’s earnings record.

Make copies of all financial documents

Make a copy of all tax returns, loan applications, wills, trusts, financial statements, your mortgage, banking information, brokerage statements, loan documents, credit card statements, deeds to real property, car registration, insurance inventories, and insurance policies. If you have assets that you brought into the marriage, these will remain yours as long as you can document your ownership.

Be suspicious. Look for signs that your husband may be hiding income

Make sure you’re including any safe deposit boxes and reviewing pay stubs, retirement plans, and insurance policies. If your spouse’s business generates a lot of cash, find a forensic accountant to look for signs of additional income that he may be hiding. Don’t overlook hobbies or side businesses that generate income. Here’s an example: My neighbor Allen makes exquisite knives in his workshop that he sells for up to $1K/each. Working with iron and metal is his hobby, and when he sells something, there’s no record of it, and he doesn’t pay any taxes. But at $1K/each, he’s generating a nice little revenue stream. California is a community property state, and you’re entitled to half of this kind of income.

Did you help your husband get a degree or pay for grad school?

My accountant put her husband through law school, and he’s now a partner in a prestigious San Francisco law firm. When he wanted a divorce, she put her savvy CPA brain to work and received a generous compensation for those years she worked to put him through school.

Consider big-picture tax consequences

Get an accountant to help you make these decisions because they will have profound effects on your future and that of your children.

  • Monthly alimony or a lump sum?
  • What is his retirement plan worth?
  • Should you keep the family home or sell it now?
  • Who pays the mortgage until it sells?

Selling the family home is a difficult decision, but in too many cases, women hang on to the house because of the emotional bonds. They want their kids to stay in a neighborhood where they have friends and feel safe. But in too many cases, that home is too expensive to maintain. The constant upkeep, the landscaping and repairs, the mow and blow guy who comes once/week. All of this becomes a burden. Better to move to a smaller home in a neighborhood that’s more affordable.

Become your own advocate. Prepare for your future

Be informed. Taking an active role in the divorce negotiations will help you reach a better settlement. During our Guided Mediation, we often see couples improving communication through the mediation process. They will need this as they raise their kids together. Stand up for yourself and get your share so you’re able to take care of yourself and your children financially.

If you stayed home to take care of your kids, you’ll need to find a way to support yourself and your children. Get career counseling and training. You may need to go back to school, so prepare for the expense of tuition and books. You’re creating a new life for your family.

Guideway’s Divorce and Mediation Services

Guideway has been assisting Bay Area couples with Divorce for nearly 20 years. While the majority of our clients may not have worked out the details, they know they are willing to reach agreement on division of assets and a parenting plan—and those are the critical components of an Amicable Divorce. Our Guided Mediation is for couples whose Divorce has stalled for whatever reasons. We guide you through it, and we prepare the legal documents. Schedule an appointment with Guideway today.

Guideway services the entire Bay Area

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield.

Wednesday, January 12, 2022

The Crisis of Caregiving: A Legal Checklist


If you’re paying attention, you’re aware that the subject of caregiving is coming up a lot more frequently in the news and in conversations with friends and colleagues. The AARP is devoting one of its monthly newsletter to a variety of topics related to caring for America’s aging family members. Two years of Covid have made the situation worse. While we don’t hear enough about it, many Covid survivors are left with conditions as severe and varied as organ failure, brain fog, memory loss, fatigue, loss of smell and taste, etc. Many people are no longer able to return to their pre-Covid lives or employment. It’s their family members who are left coping with their care.

If you’re a caregiver, part of your job may be to keep track of your loved one’s legal matters. 

1. Creating a Living Trust

A Living Trust is the legal document that outlines the way in which your assets will pass on to your loved ones when you die. Our Living Trust package also includes a Will, a Power of Attorney and an Advance Healthcare Directive. These legal documents will allow an appointed person to make medical or financial decisions for those who are incapacitated or no longer able to make these decisions for themselves. A loved one needs to create these documents when he or she is still capable of making legal decisions. With the diagnosis of dementia on the rise, testamentary capacity— a person’s legal and mental ability to make or alter a valid legal document—has become a growing concern.

2. Make a family plan; share caregiving responsibilities

Not surprisingly, two out of every three caregivers in the United States are women. Somehow they’re getting it done–holding down full-time jobs, taking care of the home, raising their kids and providing regular support for family members with chronic illnesses or disabilities.

When possible, share caregiving responsibilities. One of my colleagues is part of a large family that’s sharing the care of their elderly family members. Both children and grandchildren take turns with doctor visits, pharmacy runs, shopping, etc. They created a schedule and documented it for accountability. For one grandparent whose vision is failing, her young granddaughter comes over every Saturday to make breakfast and read to her grandmother—a date they both look forward to.

3. Organize important papers

Most people don’t realize how many legal documents they already have, or how many they will need for matters that arise.

Important documents include:

  • Birth certificate
  • Marriage certificate
  • Divorce decree
  • Citizenship papers
  • Death certificate of a spouse or parent
  • Power(s) of attorney
  • Deeds to property
  • Deeds to cemetery plots
  • Military discharge papers
  • Insurance policies
  • Pension benefits
  • Miscellaneous financial documents—to banking, savings accounts and brokerage accounts

4. Explore potential financial help

Investigate public benefits: 

  • Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI)
  • Supplemental Security Income (SSI)
  • Veterans benefits
  • Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (formerly known as food stamps)
  • Medicare and Medicaid
  • Online tools like AARP Foundation’s Local Assistance Directory and the National Council on Aging’s Benefits

Long-term care insurance

Examine your loved one’s insurance and retirement plans, including (where applicable) life insurance, disability coverage, pension benefits, long-term care insurance and workplace health insurance. See whether any of them covers home-health visits, skilled nursing, mental health services, or physical therapy and other short-term assistance.

To think about: Consider buying long-term care insurance before you need it. It’s inexpensive while you’re still young and healthy.

Family and Medical Leave Act

If you need to take a leave of absence from your job to care for a loved one, you may be entitled to up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. Some employers offer paid family leave, and California has implemented laws mandating paid leave for caregiving.

5. Look for tax breaks and life insurance deals

Your family member may be able to claim federal tax deductions for health-care costs, including a hospital bed or wheelchair and out-of-pocket expenses not covered by health insurance. Benefits also may include remodeling the home to make it accessible and hiring a part-time home-health aide. Your loved one also may have a life insurance policy that makes accelerated death payments to help pay for long-term care.

6. Think beyond your loved one: The surviving spouse

You may also need to manage benefits of the surviving spouse. That person may be the beneficiary of an IRA, bank account, life insurance policy and/or pension benefits. There may also be a plan and money set aside to care for a pet.

A Living Trust provides peace of mind

A Living Trust is a legal document that contains instructions for what you want to happen to your assets when you die. For my family, it meant that when my parents died, all of their affairs were in order, they had transferred all of their assets into the Living Trust and identified their heirs. Without a Living Trust, their estate would have gone into Probate and my brother and I would have been dealing with this long, expensive process—even while mourning the death of our parents.

Guideway is proud of our comprehensive Living Trust package that includes a Power of Attorney and Advanced Healthcare DirectiveBest of all, we guide you through it and we prepare the legal documents. Schedule an appointment with Guideway today.

Guideway services the entire Bay Area

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

How Will We Be Eating in 2022? Think Healthy


You may or may not make formal New Year’s resolutions, but many of us make little promises to ourselves–to spend more time with our families, to exercise more and eat a healthier diet. To tackle that old to-do list. Creating a Living Trust tops many to-do lists. After nearly two years of Covid and no end in sight, creating a Trust has never been more important. Our Trust package includes a Power of Attorney and an Advance Healthcare Directive. Make this part of your healthier New Year.

Eating a healthier diet is the overarching food trend of the year

Whole Foods’ Trends Council identified seven food trends for 2022. Who are these guys? The Trends Council is made up of local foragers, regional and global buyers and culinary experts. Their predictions are based on their experience in product sourcing and studying consumer preferences and emerging brands. Important consideration is given to how the pandemic has impacted our buying habits.

These seven trends made it to the Trends Council’s hot list

1. Ultra-urban farming: Faster time to market means more nutritious

Urban farming has gotten a big boost from technology, and hyper-local produce can be grown more sustainably. The big benefit: more nutritious produce. Brooklyn’s Gotham Greens started out with a 20,000-square-foot greenhouse, and they’re now working on their ninth hydroponic greenhouse.

2. “Reducetarianism” foods: We’re cutting way back on animal products

Americans are reducing consumption of meat and animal products. I’m now eating a mostly plant-based diet and I’ve found that many of my friends and colleagues are cutting down on meat as well—even if it’s only one or two days/week. When they do eat animal products, reducetarians make sure they’re eating high quality, like Epic Provisions bison bacon cranberry bar, made with grass-fed bison and Applegate Well Carved burgers, made with a mix of grass-fed beef and vegetables.

3. Hibiscus

Hibiscus has long been recognized for its culinary and medicinal applications. You can eat the flower straight from the plant, but it’s more generally used in tea, relishes, jam and salads. High in vitamin C, it’s packed with antioxidants. It helps boost immunity, lower cholesterol and blood pressure.

4. Buzz-less spirits

The market for nonalcoholic spirits is on fire; it’s expected to grow a whopping 35 percent by 2023. There’s a widening array of nonalcoholic drinks, and low-alcohol seltzers have seized the market. Winemakers are looking for new ways to reach the consumer who doesn’t want a buzz. Ask any of the 500+ winery owners in the Napa Valley and they’ll tell you that wine sales are down and baby boomers are no longer buying those high-priced cabernets. Consumers’ growing interest in wellness has contributed to the no- and low-alcohol products.

6. Sunflower seeds

Sunflower seed-based products are now a trend—they’re showing up in crackers, spreads, ice cream and cheese. Ben & Jerry’s new flavors are made with sunflower butter–Creme BrulĂ©e Cookie and Mint Chocolate Cookie. Those who are allergic to nuts find that they can eat delicious sunflower seed products. Think peanut butter that’s made with sunflower seeds, delivering a rich, nutty taste that doesn’t kill them--Mother Butter, Fix & Fogg Oaty Nut Butter.

7. Prebiotics

Prebiotics are special plant fibers that help healthy bacteria grow in your gut, making your digestive system work better. Prebiotics are found in garlic, onions, asparagus, bananas and barley. Drinks like Poppi have become popular for their natural prebiotics from unfiltered apple cider vinegar, keeping gut and immune system healthy.

A Living Trust provides peace of mind

A Living Trust is a legal document that contains instructions for what you want to happen to your assets when you die. For my family, it meant that when my parents died, all of their affairs were in order, they had transferred all of their assets into the Living Trust and identified their heirs. Without a Living Trust, an estate goes into Probate.

We’re proud of our comprehensive Living Trust package that includes a Power of Attorney and Advanced Healthcare DirectiveBest of all, we guide you through it and we prepare the legal documents. Schedule an appointment with Guideway today.

Guideway services the entire Bay Area

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield

Wednesday, December 29, 2021

The Holidays. The Perfect Time to Talk about a Living Trust!


My family tried for years to get my folks to create a Living Trust. While my mom was an easy sell, it was my stepfather, Charlie, who was the holdout. A retired Navy pilot, we figured it was some kind of macho-military thing. He wouldn’t listen to my mom, his daughters or me. But one year during the holidays, my brother brought the subject up, explaining how difficult Probate can be for grieving families. Bingo. It took the intervention of a male for Charlie to take this seriously.


Charlie and my mom finally created their Living Trust when they were in their mid-70s. It took my brother’s intervening again to get my folks to update that Trust when they were in their early 90s. By that time, they were very frail, though they still had testamentary capacity. This update was important, as they’d made some good investments, and one of Charlie’s daughters had died.

Let’s face it—there’s never a great time to talk about end-of-life planning

Yet if your efforts to get your parents or other family members to create a Living Trust have fallen flat, it might be that the holidays are the time for this conversation to resurface. Additional family members may provide the support you need.

A Living Trust provides peace of mind

A Living Trust is a legal document that contains instructions for what you want to happen to your assets when you die. For my family, it meant that when my parents died, all of their affairs were in order, they had transferred all of their assets into the Living Trust and identified their heirs. Without a Living Trust, their estate would have gone into Probate and my brother likely would have been the one having to work through the Probate process for our family.

Our Trust package includes a Power of Attorney and a Healthcare Directive

Financial Power of Attorney, a written authorization to represent or act on another’s behalf is an important part of life planning. As people age, it’s not unusual for their memories to fade and their thinking to become unclear. The time often comes when they can no longer pay their own bills, interact with their healthcare providers, insurance representatives and other professionals—yet it’s critical that they continue these services. Having a trusted family member or friend step in as Financial Power of Attorney means that the services and care they require will seamlessly continue.

An Advance Healthcare Directive specifies what actions should be taken for your health if you are no longer able to make decisions for yourself because of illness or incapacity. We all like to think that we’re going to age gracefully and die peacefully in our sleep at a ripe old age, but the reality is that people have massive strokes, fall into comas and have debilitating accidents. Planning ahead and creating an Advance Healthcare Directive makes it easier for your family to care for you if an unfortunate situation arises.

A thoughtful gift for your family this holiday: Create or update your Living Trust.

With families gathered for the holidays, it’s the perfect time to encourage procrastinating relatives to create or update their Living Trusts. We’re proud of our comprehensive Living Trust package that includes a Power of Attorney and Advanced Healthcare Directive. Best of all, we guide you through it and we prepare the legal documents. Schedule an appointment with Guideway today.

 

Guideway services the entire Bay Area

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield.

Wednesday, December 22, 2021

Covid Hijacks the Holidays: Evaluating Your Risk Tolerance


Just about the time we thought it was safe to enjoy the holidays, omicron has popped up to spoil our fun. We kicked off the holidays just a few weeks ago with money in our pockets and high expectations. We prepped for in-person parties and planned trips to exotic locales. We looked forward to simply sharing the holidays with those we love. But Covid’s a cunning adversary. Within a matter of days, this new variant has sabotaged the holiday plans of millions of people around the globe.

Home alone again for the holidays

A colleague and her husband looked forward to taking their two young sons to South Africa, where her husband grew up. Africa is where omicron first surfaced, and their flights have been canceled. One 72-year old woman hadn’t seen her grandchildren in nearly three years. Her holiday plans included a trip to Denver to visit her unvaccinated son and his family. But with infections spiking, she and her husband will be home alone again this year.

As Covid sweeps the country: Is the booster the new vaccine passport?

Broadway shows are being canceled and the Metropolitan Opera will require proof of booster shots. Its new rule  for staff and audience members takes effect in January—will this become the new vaccine passport?

Major corporations are delaying the return to the workplace—employees will continue working virtually for the foreseeable future. Apple delayed its return to the office “to a date yet to be determined.” It also temporarily shut stores in Annapolis, Md., Miami and Ottawa in response to a rise in coronavirus cases.

To go or not to go: Think of your life in terms of value exchanges

According to psychologist Arathi Sethumadhavan in APA Monitor on Psychology, “human beings, when given the time, are always doing a value exchange, weighing the benefits of what they’re getting vs what they’re giving up.” One of my colleagues thinks of this as tiny banking transactions. We’re always running either a debit or credit balance with our family and friends. Use this same principle to evaluate your Covid risk for the holidays: Weigh the benefits of how badly you want to go somewhere or see someone vs the severity of the risk.

Evaluating your risk tolerance

Ask yourself a few questions to think through whether an event is worth attending:  

  • Are you fully vaccinated and boosted? If so, it’s much safer to gather with others, even with omicron circulating around us. Do you also have a strong immune system, rarely getting colds and flu?
  • Do you have underlying health conditions?If so, consult your doctor about how to approach holiday gatherings.
  • Do you know whether the people you’re gathering with are vaccinated? If you don’t know their status, especially when it comes to younger children, consider precautions like masking indoors or being in an outdoor environment.
  • How big is the gathering you want to attend and what is the setting? Determine what size gathering feels comfortable and whether you are open to indoor gatherings.

Guideway’s Living Trust package

As you get caught up on vaccines that will help you and your family stay healthy through the coming months, this is also a great time to create or update your Trust. With families gathered for the holidays, it’s also the perfect time to encourage aging family members to create a Living Trust.

We’re proud of our comprehensive Living Trust package that includes a Power of Attorney and Advanced Healthcare DirectiveBest of all, we guide you through it and we prepare the legal documents. Schedule an appointment with Guideway today.

Guideway services the entire Bay Area

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield.

Thursday, December 16, 2021


If you’re planning a divorce in 2022, you’ve got lots of company. Few couples want to disrupt the family’s holidays with Divorce matters, and statistics show that Divorce rates are highest early in the year.

These are things you can be doing now that will help move the process along, minimizing the impact on your family.

1. Identify assets and liabilities

  • Identify separate assets for each spouse. These are the individual assets that you brought into your marriage and are not subject to division. They might include real estate, valuable collections, such as antiques and cars. This also includes brokerage, savings and retirement accounts.
  • Identify marital assets–those things you and your spouse acquired together during your marriage, to be divided equally.
  • Identify liabilities. Identify individual and marital debt. It may be that you’re still paying off your college loans. If so, these likely are separate debts that you brought into the marriage—your spouse bears no responsibility for repaying these debts. If, however, you and your spouse buy a home together, your mortgage is a shared liability.

2. Gather/copy important records and financial documents

It’s helpful to have copies of your records in one place when going through your divorce, and you will need to have copies. Deeds, mortgages, car titles and other financial documents that show proof of ownership or investment are essential.

3. Amicable Divorce

While it can seem overwhelming, Divorce is actually a very methodical process. If you can agree on division of property and a parenting plan, you don’t need an attorney, and Guideway can save you a lot of money. We are available for questions throughout the process. Either you or your spouse will serve the other with a petition, which Guideway files with the court. You will need to exchange detailed financial information that includes both assets and debts, mentioned above. Our team is compassionate, knowledgeable, and responsive. We guide you through it, and we prepare the legal documents.

4. Guided Mediation

Guideway is an experienced, neutral third party that guides divorcing couples through the issues that have stalled their divorce, helping them reach a mutually acceptable resolution. There’s no judge, no winning or losing. Instead, our Guided Divorce is based on the principles of negotiation, open-mindedness, and compromise. Both parties must be our clients and must be willing to listen and compromise.

You’ll be asked to prioritize:

  • What can’t you live without? It may be your house–your biggest asset that keeps appreciating, and the place your kids call home.
  • What will you give up to keep it? Retirement benefits? Long-term financial support?

Our skilled guides help couples divide their assets and work through custody matters to reach mutually agreeable solutions.

Now is a good time to begin thinking about your priorities

  • Do you want to continue living in the family home? Remember that you’re now living on one income rather than two, and home maintenance is expensive. It may make sense to sell the house and move to a more affordable neighborhood.
  • How important will it be for you to obtain alimony (or minimize your liability for alimony)?
  • What can you expect from your spouse in terms of co-parenting your children?

5. Think about your spouse’s priorities

Note areas where your and your spouse’s priorities are likely to overlap. This will help you to be better prepared to address potential conflicts.

6. Create a post-Divorce plan

Get realistic about your post-Divorce life. While Divorce represents a fresh start, the high cost of living in the Bay Area also makes it stressful. By preparing a budget and identifying your want-to-haves vs need-to-haves, you can be realistic about the new life you are trying to create for yourself and your family.

7. Keep a low profile

Hiding assets is a very bad idea and has serious consequences if it backfires. Maintain a low profile and keep your spouse and your Divorce off social media.

8. Manage stress

While your Divorce is a major life event with long-term consequences, try to keep this in perspective. You will get through this.

Guideway’s Divorce and Mediation Services

Guideway has been assisting Bay Area couples with Divorce for nearly 20 years. While the majority of our clients may not have worked out the details, they know they are willing to reach agreement on division of assets and a parenting plan—and those are the critical components of an Amicable Divorce. Our Guided Mediation is for couples whose Divorce has stalled for whatever reasons. We guide you through it, and we prepare the legal documents. Schedule an appointment with Guideway today.

Guideway services the entire Bay Area

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield.

Wednesday, December 8, 2021

Is It Time to Redefine “Fully Vaccinated”?


Nearly two years of Covid, and the emerging variants indicate that it’s not going away anytime soon. We’ve adapted our business models and facilities to create safe environments. At Guideway, the uncertainty of this pandemic has resulted in an increase in people creating or updating their Living Trusts. A Trust is especially important for those with young children. If something happens to you, who will care for your children? Without a Trust, the court appoints a guardian for your kids. By creating a Trust, you can name a guardian and be assured that your family will inherit your assets as you have planned. In the meantime, getting a booster shot is the best way to protect yourself against Covid.

The CDC is now recommending booster shots for everyone over 18

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now recommending that everyone 18 and older get a Covid booster shot. This messaging is more urgent than that of just a few months ago when the recommendation was for those 50 and older. Dr. Anthony Fauci, chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden, is now unequivocal in advising the public to “get boosted now.”

According to CDC Director, Dr. Rochelle Walensky, “As science evolves, we will look at whether we need to update our definition of ‘fully vaccinated.’ The definition hasn’t changed. That’s after your second dose of a Pfizer or Moderna vaccine, after your single dose of a Johnson & Johnson vaccine.”

Even with vaccinations, immunity wanes

Two state governors are taking the booster seriously.

  • Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont. “In my view, if you were vaccinated more than six months ago, you’re not fully vaccinated,” said Lamont on Nov. 18 during a press briefing. He was encouraging everyone to get boosted—even before the federal government authorized extra shots for everyone.
  • New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham had a similar response in mid-November, saying she defined “fully vaccinated” as receiving three shots of the mRNA type. She also opened up booster eligibility to all of her state residents before the CDC and Food and Drug Administration did.

Infections with the omicron variant have been reported in at least five states. Omicron is distinguished by at least 50 mutations, some of which appear to be associated with increased transmissibility. The World Health Organization dubbed it a “variant of concern” on Nov. 26.

The social implications of changing vaccination status

An increasing number of venues require proof of vaccination for entrance. New York City’s Key to NYCrequires that people 12 and older show identification and proof they have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine for access to indoor dining, fitness and entertainment venues. France’s Pass Sanitaire is required for access to all cultural venues, restaurants and bars. Passengers of long-distance trains, buses and domestic airlines need this pass. Think of all of the workplaces that have vaccine mandates—the Department of Defense, Goldman Sachs, MacDonalds, Cisco, American Express, Facebook, Ford, etc. It’s a growing list.

One doctor doesn’t quantify “fully vaccinated”

Dr. Marc Siegel, an associate professor of medicine at the George Washington School of Medicine and Health Sciences thinks more suitable terminology would be to call someone “adequately” vaccinated against covid rather than “fully” vaccinated, since it’s possible that more boosters could be needed in the future — making “full vaccination” a matter of semantics and a moving target.

Businesses don’t appear to be checking for boosters at this time, but that could change. There may be a time when patrons present a two-shot vaccine passport, only to be turned away as inadequately protected.

A thoughtful gift for your family this holiday: Create or update your Living Trust.

As you prepare your home for winter and get caught up on vaccines that will help you and your family stay healthy through the coming months, this is also a great time to create or update your Living Trust. With families gathered for the holidays, it’s also the perfect time to encourage aging family members to create their Living Trusts.

We’re proud of our comprehensive Living Trust package that includes a Power of Attorney and Advanced Healthcare DirectiveBest of all, we guide you through it and we prepare the legal documents. Schedule an appointment with Guideway today.

Guideway services the entire Bay Area

Berkeley, El Cerrito, Richmond, Pinole, Alameda, San Leandro, Castro Valley Newark, San Lorenzo, Concord, Alamo, Danville, Lafayette, Orinda, Moraga, Pleasant Hill, Martinez, Pittsburg, Antioch, Brentwood, Oakley, Discovery Bay, Pleasanton, San Ramon, Livermore, Tracy and Fremont. Our clients also live in the Napa Valley, Benicia, Vallejo, Martinez, Fairfield.