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Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Medicare’s New Chip Card Spawns New Scams


Many of Guideway’s clients are seniors who are either creating or updating their Living Trusts. A recent conversation about scams is a window into just how hard crooks are working to steal money from vulnerable people—especially the elderly. The latest scam? Medicare is rolling out a new plastic card that will replace the old paper card. It has a microchip that encrypts transactions for greater data security. 

Sadly, scammers are all over the transition to the new Medicare card

“They’re on the move, developing ways to take advantage of any confusion that may be related to the transition,” the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) warned as the new cards were being rolled out. Be aware of these scams and make sure family members who are on Medicare understand how the new card is to be used. 

Some scammers are asking beneficiaries to pay for their new Medicare card; others are threatening to cancel people's health coverage if they don’t share their new number. The card is a free replacement—there is no charge. The FCC said that stolen data could be used to file fake claims, fill prescriptions or be sold on the dark web. 

Sometimes scammers promise free services or equipment, such as a back or neck brace, in exchange for Medicare information. They may reference new policies or updates. The best way to protect yourself: Remember that no government agency makes personal calls or makes free offers. Not Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, the IRS, the DMV. Not ever. 

Website domain name scam

I encountered a scam that I want to share—a new one for me. I created a website for a friend a few years ago and he forwarded an email warning him to renew his domain name and pay for it immediately or he would lose the name altogether. There was contact information where he could use his credit card to pay. I logged into his GoDaddy account, and sure enough, he was all paid up. No crisis—just another scam. 

The thing to keep in mind is that no legitimate organization operates in this manner. For all of these scams, there is an immediacy—you have to do this right now—before common sense takes over and you realize that you’re being conned. The IRS never makes threatening personal phone calls. GoDaddy has fabulous customer service—they’re not in the business of making alarming announcements to their customers. 

How preposterous is this scam? Does a seven-year old car ever have a warranty?

My car is in great shape and paid for, but it’s seven years old, and I get a phone call at least once every few weeks trying to get me to engage in a scam about my car warranty--which has long since expired. They want me to log in and give them my credit card information to extend my warranty. A seven-year old vehicle does not qualify for a warranty. Ever.

Avoiding imposter scams

If you’re unsure about the legitimacy of calls you receive, contact the FTC.gov/complaint or 800-MEDICARE. Be vocal. Tell your friends and family members about these scams so they’ll be alert to potential deceit. They prey on our confusion. Don’t be conned. 

Is it time to update your Living Trust?

If you created your Living Trust eight or more years ago, there’s a good chance there’s a lot that has happened—births, deaths, divorce, investments and new jobs. Our Trust package includes a Power of Attorney, an Advance Healthcare Directive and a Will. We guide you through the process and we prepare the legal documents. Schedule an appointment with Guideway today. We guide you through it and we prepare the legal documents.

We service the entire East Bay and North Bay areas

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, April 21, 2021

Reverse Mortgages: Generating Cash Flow for Seniors


Just as a Living Trust has become an important part of financial planning, a reverse mortgage can play a role in generating extra revenue for retired seniors. Reverse mortgages have been arounds since 1961, and they’ve always been somewhat controversial. Yet a reverse mortgage can be a real difference-maker for seniors who need cash flow to supplement their retirement income.

In its simplest form, a reverse mortgage is a loan
Warning signs. A broker who:

  • Uses high-pressure tactics to talk you into a reverse mortgage.
  • Won’t disclose the fees, conditions and risks that come with taking out a reverse mortgage, including the possible loss of the home, which serves as collateral.
Do your research if you’re considering a reverse mortgage: Look to HUD, FTC
  • HUD and theFederal Trade Commission have plenty of excellent information.
  • Talk to a trusted financial adviser or attorney before you sign anything.
  • If the reverse mortgage is a federally insured Home Equity Conversion Mortgage (HECM), as most are, you are required by law to meet with a government-approved counselor.
  • Be wary if someone selling home-improvement services suggests taking out a reverse mortgage to pay for renovations or repairs.
  • Be very suspicious of claims that a reverse mortgage will get you free anything–income or a free home. You should know by now that nothing’s free.
  • Do know that you usually have the right to cancel a reverse mortgage within three days after closing.
Don’t:
  • Sign any loan paperwork that you don’t completely understand.
  • For married couples: Don’t take out a reverse mortgage using just one spouse as the borrower. A reverse mortgage in one borrower’s name comes due when that person dies. The consequences for the surviving spouse could include collection proceedings and loss of the home.
  • Listen to scammers telling you that reverse mortgages are a way to avoid foreclosure or get out of debt.
A Living Trust is an important part of financial planning  

A reverse mortgage lets you access the equity you’ve built up in your home. As a borrower, you get a tax-free advance on your own home equity. You can choose how you want to receive this advance—it can be a line of credit, fixed monthly payments or a lump sum.

For most reverse mortgages, you must use the proceeds to pay off your existing mortgage; the remainder of the loan comes due when you move, sell the house or die. Reverse mortgages are somewhat complicated, and they can be risky. Because the audience is older Americans, the industry seems to be populated with more than its share of scammers who can’t wait to take advantage of older homeowners.

While a reverse mortgage can be an important source of income for many seniors, a Living Trust is a critical part of financial planning. Our Trust package includes a Power of Attorney, an Advance Healthcare Directive and a Will. We guide you through the process and we prepare the legal documents. Schedule an appointment with Guideway today.

We service the entire East Bay and North Bay areas

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, April 14, 2021

Probate: A Story of Greed and Conflict


Covid-19 has left many families grieving the sudden loss of their loved ones. As Guideway assists them in probating their estates, we’re sensitive to the painful loss of family members. In a best-case scenario, the Probate is uncontested by the surviving family members, the Executor settles the estate and it’s divided evenly among the surviving family. But in families where there are resentments and conflicts, the Probate process can be contested and it becomes more complex, as in the following story.

Father divided his estate equally among his three daughters

Dr. Johnson had lived a long, happy life. After his wife died, he modified his Will to make sure that each of his three daughters received an equal share of his estate—a palatial home, a Tahoe house and several luxury cars. As Dr. Johnson became more frail, his daughter Sarah and her husband, Bob, moved in to take care of her father. Her sisters helped occasionally, but Sarah and Bob were the primary caregivers. When their father died, the estate went into Probate, with Sarah named as the Executor.

Caregiver daughter’s fight for larger share of the estate resulted in legal battle

Sarah’s husband Bob believed that she deserved a larger portion of the estate because she had cared for their father for nearly eight years. Bob wanted to inherit the massive home in which they had been living in as they cared for Sarah’s dad. He also felt entitled to the cars and the Tahoe house. Sarah became caught up in the greed and ultimately began fighting for a larger share.

Sarah and Bob contested the Will; and a long, expensive legal battle caused a major rift among Sarah and her sisters. The case was finally settled with some concessions for Sarah and her years of caring for her father. The relationship among the sisters likely will never be the same.

Probate can seem overwhelming, but it’s actually a very methodical process

As part of Probate, the Court appoints an Executor to settle the estate, and Guideway works with that Executor throughout the Probate process.

The Executor is responsible for:

  • Collecting all of the decedent’s Probate property
  • Paying all debts, claims and taxes owed by the estate
  • Collecting all rights to income, dividends, etc.
  • Settling all disputes
  • Distributing or transferring the remaining property to the heirs

Access to the decedent’s accounts

The Executor will be able to gain access to all of the decedent’s records–bank statements, savings accounts and income tax returns–to fully understand the financial landscape. This may include valuing assets, taking physical custody of assets and selling assets, as necessary, to pay off debts or expenses.

During Probate, the deceased’s estate becomes a separate tax entity. The Executor must obtain a federal tax identification number and open a bank account in the name of the estate from which to pay creditors. It is also necessary to file the estate’s tax return and a final individual tax return.

Distribution of remaining assets

Once all taxes and debts have been satisfied, the Court will then distribute any remaining assets according to state law. In California, as in most states, the first priority is given to the deceased’s spouse, followed by the deceased’s children.

How could this family conflict have been avoided? 

Dr. Johnson could have:

  • Informed his daughters that he was dividing his estate equally among them. At that point, Sarah might have been able to make a compelling case for extra compensation for her years of loyal caregiving.
  • Added a no-contest clause stating that anyone who challenges the document will receive nothing.
  • Given away most of his estate to his children before he died.

Dr. Johnson could have saved his family a lot of grief if he had created a Living Trust

In this way, his daughters could have avoided Probate altogether. Sarah and Bob, however, still could have contested this agreement.

As the uncertainty of the Covid crisis drags on, many of our clients are scheduling appointments to create or update their Living Trusts. Our Trust package includes a Pour Over Will. For those families with children under 18, this means that they can name a Guardian rather than having the court appoint one for them. A Trust, with a Power of Attorney and Advance Healthcare Directive are providing peace of mind to many. Best of all, we guide you through it and we prepare the legal documents. Schedule an appointment with Guideway today.

We service the entire East Bay and North Bay areas

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.


Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Staying Safe: Still My Most Important Job


From the initial Covid lockdown in March 2020, my most important job has been keeping my team and our clients safe. Happily, I’ve been successful. I acted quickly, creating a virtual work model that allowed us to continue serving our clients. The unexpected outcome was that everyone seemed to like this new remote process. Clients didn’t have to leave home, and my team found that the Zoom intake process was much more efficient. I believe that we continued to meet the needs of our clients. 

We’re starting to feel like there’s an end to this austerity

Many of our clients have had both vaccines and are feeling liberated. Many more can’t wait for their second shot. In a matter of weeks, vaccinations will be available to everyone. As we look forward to spring, we’re all eager to put this year behind us. 

According to The New York Times Covid infection tracker, at least 487 new coronavirus deaths and 45,582 new cases were reported in the U.S. on March 28. That’s a 15% increase in just two weeks. California is adding around 2,600 cases a day. These numbers are especially concerning when we read about the new mutant strains that are surfacing. We are taking this very seriously, and I want to assure our clients that we are continuing to follow strict Covid protocols.

I want to assure our clients that we are continuing to follow strict Covid protocols

We’re still masking up and wiping down surfaces. Signings and meetings are by appointment only. In this way we can ensure that we’re social distancing. 

If you’ve spent most of 2020 at home, I hope this message assures you that we haven’t let up; we’re making our office and our process as safe as possible for every client. That remains my most important job.

My Best,

Ian Duncan
Guideway


Tuesday, March 23, 2021

Too Busy to Get Divorced?


The pandemic has played some cruel tricks on
 relationships. Too much stress. Too much anxiety from worrying about jobs, kids and trying to stay healthy. Too much time together without a break. The result is a whole lot of people who can’t wait to get out of their unhappy marriages. One of the ironies of Divorce is that no matter how unhappy you and your spouse may be, it requires a significant effort to get even an uncontested, or amicable, divorce.

A woman from Concord, Shelley, who had filed for a Divorce nearly a year ago recently came into Walnut Creek office and wanted to know if we could help her. She and her spouse had tried a do-it-yourself (DIY) Divorce, but their economics didn’t fit the DIY mold. She’s not alone. Trying to equally divide your life and how you will share the raising of your children requires some heavy lifting.

Like many Bay Area women, her life is a constant juggling act

Shelley has two children under 12 who are involved in a variety of activities. She has a good job, but works long hours and her husband works for a nonprofit. By the time she deals with the challenges of her job, her kids and running her home, she’s exhausted and can’t seem to find time to focus on the Divorce, and her husband isn’t much help.

Disclosure: A listing of assets and liabilities

Shelley and her husband agree that they want a divorce, so they will identify the assets and liabilities that constitute their financial status. The next step will be to determine how they will split their assets and share the responsibility for their debts.

For their two children, there must be a parenting plan

The more thought and care that goes into this, the more successful the parenting plan will be. Shelley and her husband tried to stick to their kids’ existing routines as much as possible. They’ll need to decide:

  • If they’ll share legal custody or if one will have sole physical and legal custody. Will one of them keep the family home? If so, that ensures that the kids remain in the same neighborhood and school. This is a tricky one. Owning and maintaining a home in the Bay Area can be challenging on a single income.
  • Who will be responsible for the kids’ health insurance, for transportation to and from activities, from doctor and dental appointments?
  • Where their kids will spend school holidays and summer vacations?
  • Who will buy their clothes and deduct them on their income tax?

While a parenting plan will evolve as children grow, the more thoughtful and complete, the better the family will adapt.

We created a project plan and a timeline for the Divorce to be finalized

Guideway identified tasks and a timeline for Shelley and her husband to complete them. They now know exactly what they need to do and have set a goal to be divorced by September. We were delighted to provide the structure and accountability that got Shelley’s Divorce back on track.

There’s a better solution: Guideway 

Guideway has been assisting Bay Area couples with their Divorces for more than 15 years. If you and your spouse can reach agreement on division of assets and liabilities and a parenting plan, you don’t need an attorney, and we can save you a significant amount of money.
Divorce can seem overwhelming, but it’s a very methodical process. Most of our clients have a pretty good idea how they are going to divide their property and share custody of their children. They may not have worked out the details, but they know they are willing to reach agreement—and that’s the critical component of an amicable Divorce.

Best of all, we guide you through it and we prepare the legal documents. Schedule an appointment with Guideway today.

We service the entire East Bay and North Bay areas

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.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Covid Creativity: In Upstate NY, They’re Playing “Speakeasy Hockey”


I used to share office space with a bunch of Canadian software developers, and they were nuts about hockey. It got really wild when the Stanley cup playoffs rolled around in the spring. They were contemptuous of Americans who called it “ice hockey”. For them there is only “hockey”. Those who’ve grown up in Canada or those Midwest states that get cold early and stay cold understand hockey’s lure. In a year of Covid, the rinks may have closed down, but dedicated hockey fans have found a way to keep playing.

When indoor rinks closed, these players have turned to “speakeasy hockey”

Christian Klueg welcomed his guests—hockey players ranging in age from teenagers to middle-agers — to his backyard hockey rink. For 27 years, he had built smaller versions. But when he realized that Covid would shutter ice rinks throughout the area, he went all-in on upgrades. He drove 172 miles north to purchase a 1987 Olympia ice-resurfacing machine. 


Hockey parents have gotten creative

Dedicated hockey parents have repurposed old barns, expanded previous playing spaces or purchased easy-to-assemble kits. Some have built rinks from scratch or made major investments in customized rinks they’ve bought online.

Dependencies include inconsistent thaws and freezes and liability insurance in case injured visitors file lawsuits. Like-minded neighbors have knocked down fences and shared space for rinks; others have complained about the noise created by pucks crashing against wooden boards. “It’s almost like Prohibition-era speakeasy hockey,” Klueg said. “Knock a certain way, come on in.”

Rebecca Racine Keinath and her husband retrofitted their 74-year-old dairy barn. They envisioned playing the game on a higher plane—their hayloft. They laid new planks and a tarp, then flooded it when temperatures dropped in winter.

Meet Dylan Gastel, EZ ICE Rinks inventor

Dylan Gastel is the 24-year-old inventor of EZ ICE Rinks. He grew up in Rhode Island and worked with his father building outdoor rinks. Eager to get on the ice, Gastel was always looking forward to the next cold front to come through. Once the water froze, he could be found skating until 3 a.m.

Gastel eventually went to Yale, studied mechanical engineering and gained an entrepreneurial grant of $1,000 from a Yale program. He developed the prototype of a rink that could be assembled in an hour and started a backyard rink company in his dorm room. Gastel’s modular kit includes lightweight plastic boards, connecting brackets, a liner and straps that hold the system together. No tools required. In his first year Gastel sold $1 million worth of rinks, and he doubled that in his second year.

Then Covid hit. As school districts and local governments shuttered indoor facilities, Gastel watched his sales spike as families, schools and towns purchased his rinks to offer rink options. September saw accelerated demand, and he projected he would run out of supplies by Christmas. In three months, the company expanded its manufacturing capacity by 500%.

Downsides of neighborhood rinks

Christian Klueg estimates that he has poured $10,000 into his rinks over the years. His wish list includes refrigeration mats that would keep the ice frozen even when the temperature reaches 50 degrees.


To prevent pucks from landing in neighbors’ yards, one parent added plywood fencing and 10-foot netting. But one winter night he was in his second-floor office and heard a loud crash. His 15-year-old son had shot a puck that ricocheted off the crossbar and crashed through the dining-room window. Other rink owners have been extremely cautious about liability insurance. One parent/rink owner took out a $1 million umbrella policy.

Hockey fans aren’t the only ones who have planned for contingencies

At Guideway, many of our clients are scheduling appointments to create Living Trusts. Covid-19 is still very much a reality, and a Trust, with a Power of Attorney and Advance Healthcare Directive are providing peace of mind to many. Best of all, we guide you through it and we prepare the legal documents. Schedule an appointment with Guideway today. 

We service the entire East Bay and North Bay areas

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, March 10, 2021

Putting Health Back into Health Care; North Carolina's Leading the Way


The Covid pandemic has exposed the limitations of the U.S. health care system. Unlike socialized health care in Canada, France or the Scandinavian countries, U.S. health care is tied to employment. Lose your job and you’ve just lost your health care. In the year of Covid, this has had tragic outcomes for millions of Americans. North Carolina (NC) has embarked on an ambitious effort to transform the way health care is defined and paid for. Could this be a model that other states can emulate?

The NC goal: Keep people healthy; save money on healthcare

North Carolina is turning away from the traditional fee-for-service model where doctors and hospitals are paid for each office visit, test or operation. Instead, providers will often be paid based on health outcomes like controlling diabetes patients’ blood sugar or heart patients’ cholesterol. It’s a meritocracy model; the better the providers do, the more they can earn. If they perform poorly, money could eventually come out of their pockets. 

The NC project: an emphasis on buying health rather than health care

The new model is being championed by the state’s Department of Health and Human Services, which oversees payments for two-thirds of the state’s insured population. The effort is led by Obama administration officials: Dr. Mandy Cohen, the secretary of the state’s health department, and Dr. Patrick Conway, the nonprofit insurer’s chief executive, who also served in the Bush administration. “I want to buy health with our dollars, not necessarily buy health care,” Dr. Cohen said.

A focus on primary care: Building relationships with patients

Primary care clinics are at the front line of the NC campaign. Physicians and nurses are expected to play a larger role in managing care and stand to gain financially. One clinic has built deep roots in the community. Dr. Robert Rosen, one of the physicians, delivered Catherine Vickers, now a practice manager, 24 years ago. Another physician, Dr. Amy Sapp, cares for people over the long haul, knowing them, their families, their living circumstances and life changes. They’ll ask about what’s going on with their families and jobs. They want to know about depression, alcohol consumption, food and housing. On annual wellness visits, the doctors now spend more time with patients. They also receive an extra $20 for doing this workup.=

More dollars to primary care physicians

NC is looking at the big picture, taking on health-related risks in our daily lives—stress, jobs, access to healthy food, housing and transportation. NC’s changes will increase the health care dollars that go to primary-care physicians, as opposed to specialists and hospitals. There’s an emphasis on proactive care–identifying problems at the beginning, monitoring them and finding solutions before they become a long-term drag on the health care system.

NC’s new approach includes big insurance providers

This year, Blue Cross announced that it had signed five of the largest health systems in NC to contracts linking payments to total costs of care for their patient populations. Duke University Health System is one of those big groups. It has made several efforts in recent years to curb costs through health practices, including pushing preventive programs and prescribing generic drugs.

Being proactive about good health includes financial matters

Many of our clients are scheduling appointments to create or update their Living Trusts. Covid-19 is still very much a reality, and a Trust, with a Power of Attorney and Advance Healthcare Directive is providing peace of mind to many. Best of all, we guide you through it and we prepare the legal documents. Schedule an appointment with Guideway today.

We service the entire East Bay and North Bay areas

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.

This story is based on an article in The New York Times, Aug. 26, 2019

Wednesday, March 3, 2021

Denmark’s Key to Happiness? Teaching Empathy!

 


Denmark is one of the happiest places on earth

According to the UN’s World Happiness Report, a survey that classifies the happiness of 155 countries, Denmark has ranked as one of the top three happiest for seven years. The reason? For nearly 20 years, students are required to take a class in empathy.

Danes believe that empathy contributes to the happiness of its people

Empathy helps in building relationships, preventing bullying and succeeding at work. It promotes the growth of leaders, entrepreneurs and managers. In Danish schools, one hour each week is dedicated to empathy lessons for students aged 6 to 16 years—a significant curriculum commitment.

So what does an empathy class look like?

During the Klassens tid students discuss their problems. The whole class, together with the teacher, try to find a solution. Thanks to their empathy training, this solution is based on careful listening and understanding. It sounds a bit like group therapy.

If there are no problems to discuss, children simply spend the time together relaxing and enjoying hygge, defined as “intentionally created intimacy”. In a country where it gets dark very early in the year, it rains, it’s gray, hygge means bringing light, warmth and friendship; creating a shared, welcoming and intimate atmosphere.

So if these kids don’t have problems to discuss, which seems highly unlikely, they have a chance to just take a nice time out and chill, to share quality time with their classmates. Hygge is a fundamental concept for the Danish sense of wellbeing. But hygge isn’t just for the Danes; it’s becoming a global phenomenon. Amazon sells more than 900 books on hygge, and Instagram has more than 3 million posts with #hygge.

Danes learn empathy, that it’s fundamental to teamwork

American writer and psychologist Jessica Alexander, with Danish psychotherapist Iben Sandahl, have conducted field research to understand how the Danes teach empathy.

  • Teamwork is a continuing theme–60% of the tasks at school are carried out through some kind of collaborative effort.
  • The focus is not to excel over others, but to take responsibility for helping those who are not equally gifted.
  • For these reasons Denmark is also considered one of the best places to work in Europe.

Competition is exclusively with oneself, not with others

Danish schools offer neither prizes nor trophies to their students who excel in school subjects or in sports, so as not to create competition. Instead they practice the culture of motivation to improve, measured exclusively in relation to themselves. The Danes give a lot of space to children’s free play, which teaches empathy and negotiation skills. Playing in the country has been considered an educational tool since 1871, explains Jessica Alexander.

An emphasis on collaborative learning; because no one goes through life alone

Danish education brings together children with different strengths and weaknesses to make them help each other in class, working together on various projects. This teaches children from an early age that they cannot succeed alone, that helping others leads to better results.

A child who is naturally talented in mathematics, without learning to collaborate with peers, will not go much further. That child will need help in other subjects to be successful, so it is important that kids are learning these lessons as they go. Teaching children from an early age that no one can go through life alone, that each of us has strengths and weaknesses and we balance each other.

The Danes get it. Going to a lesson of empathy gives great satisfaction and joy to Danish children. Best of all, it prepares them to become happy adults.

We have an opportunity to be happier in 2021

In some ways, the pandemic has brought out the best in us. We’ve learned to have more grace. We’ve dug a little deeper to help those who have been devastated by the fires, loss of jobs and loved ones. I’ve seen a greater sense of community, neighbors reaching out to neighbors. How can we not be heartened by the record-breaking numbers of people registering to vote, then showing up at the polls, sometimes waiting in line for hours—people that spanned demographics. This commitment is something we’ve never seen before. I believe we’re on the cusp of better times.

One more resolution for 2021: Creating a Living Trust

Covid-19 is still very much a reality, and we need to remain vigilant to remain safe. Many of our clients are creating or updating their Living Trusts to help provide some peace of mind. Our Trust package includes a Power of Attorney and Advance Healthcare Directive. Ensure that your estate will be distributed according to your wishes if something happens to you. We guide you through it, and we prepare the legal documents. Schedule an appointment with Guideway today.

We service the entire East Bay and North Bay areas

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.