A fiduciary deposit account is an account thatâs owned by one or more persons but managed by another. The owner is known as the principal, while the manager is known as the fiduciary. These accounts are sometimes used to handle estate or trust assets, among other purposes. Their legal status and their insurance coverage are determined by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC). Hereâs what you need to know about this type of account.
Fiduciary Deposit Account, Defined
A fiduciary deposit account, also known as a principal account, is a deposit account that a person or other entity, acting as a fiduciary, establishes to benefit one or more persons who own the assets in the account, according to FDIC rules. The individual who opens the account doesnât have ownership of it nor any ownership interest.
Some examples of fiduciaries of these accounts are trustees, agents, nominees, custodians and guardians. Fiduciary accounts are used in various ways:
Uniform Transfers to Minors Act (UTMA) accounts
Uniform Gifts to Minors Act (UGMA) accounts
Decedent estate accounts
Real estate and other escrow accounts
Accounts with a power of attorney
When FDIC Pass-Through Insurance Coverage Applies
All deposits managed by a fiduciary on behalf of the accountâs owner or owners are insured by the FDIC for the full $250,000 on a pass-through basis. This means that all the deposits are considered to be deposits made directly from the principal as long as three requirements are met:
The owner of the funds must be the principal and not the fiduciary who set up the account. The FDIC may review the fiduciary and ownerâs agreement on the account as well as state laws to confirm this.
The record of the insured depository institution (IDI) account must indicate the agency nature of the account. For example, the ownership of the account may read ABC Company as custodian, ABC for the benefit of (FBO) or Sally Rowe UTMA John Rowe, Jr.
The IDI, fiduciary and third-party records must show the ownersâ identities and the ownership interest(s) in the deposit account.
For example, letâs say XYZ Brokerage firm establishes an account for Sally Rowe at ABC Bank. In this example, Sally Rowe is the owner, or the principal, of the money in the account. This account would then be added with any other single accounts she owns at ABC Bank, which would be insured as a single account for up to $250,000.
If we assume Sally has more single ownership accounts at ABC Bank, she will not receive additional coverage because XYZ Brokerage firm opened the account for her. With a fiduciary account, coverage is provided as though the actual owner opened the account at the IDI, assuming all responsibilities are met.
Pass-through coverage is also possible if a guardian retains part of the interest paid by the IDI as a guardian fee.
When FDIC Pass-Through Insurance Coverage Doesnât Apply
If requirements of a fiduciary account are not met, the account will be insured under the fiduciary, not the intended principal. In this case, the fiduciary will own the deposits and the account will be categorized as a single account or corporate account. These deposits will then be combined with other deposits the fiduciary holds in the same ownership at the IDI where funds are held. The total sum will be insured up to $250,000.
For example, letâs say a customer of a deposit broker is assured by the guardian (fiduciary) that he or she will earn 5% on a deposit when the IDI is paying only 3%. The guardian would not be a guardian then; he or she would be a borrower with an independent responsibility to pay 5%. In this case, the deposits are no longer eligible for pass-through coverage for the principal. Instead, the deposits are now considered corporate deposits belonging to the guardian.
A fiduciary deposit account is an account set up by someone for another person, who actually owns the money. The one who sets up the account and manages it is known as the fiduciary, while the owner of the money is known as a principal. This kind of arrangement is used to handle assets in trusts, escrow accounts, brokerage accounts and decedent estates, among other uses. Itâs important that these arrangements carefully follow all the FDICâs legal requirements, as well as applicable state regulations, to qualify as a fiduciary deposit account.
Estate Planning Tips
Consider talking to a financial advisor about your estate plans. Finding a financial advisor doesnât have to be hard. SmartAssetâs free financial advisor matching service can connect you with several in your area in minutes. If youâre ready, get started now.
If you have an agent, they may make decisions about your 401(k) account. Find out how much money youâll have in your account by the time you retire with our free 401(k) calculator.
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Letâs face it: The worst thing about having to go to the hospital to receive medical treatment is being slammed with a huge bill afterwards. Sometimes, these medical bills are so expensive that you simply donât have the means to pull it off right away, especially without health insurance. While we may find it easier in the short term to pretend that our unpaid medical bills donât exist, avoiding the problem could only make it worse. Many medical providers are aware of this, which is why there are ways that you can negotiate your medical debt when you are unable to pay in full. In this article, we will discuss the different ways you can go about taking care of those medical expenses so that they donât stack up later and wreak havoc on your credit.
Negotiate for insurance rates
Without health insurance, youâll most likely be charged a much steeper price. If you want to negotiate your medical bills, one thing you can do is research what the fair market value is for whatever treatments you received. Usually, this is the price that insurance companies have to pay medical providers, and most of the time, itâs a lot cheaper.
Once youâve found the dollar amount youâd like to ask for, you will need to get in touch with the billing department. If the person on the phone turns you down, ask to speak to their supervisor. Itâs important to remain calm and polite while doing this but be persistent. Continue to ask to speak to a higher ranking individual until you reach someone who agrees to make a deal with you.
Pay it in cash
Cash payments are hard to turn down in most cases. if you want to negotiate a lower price on medical bills, you can offer to make a cash payment. Call your medical provider or the billing department and ask them if they would be willing to knock down the price of your bills if you were to pay in cash. Explain to them that if they canât offer you any other sort of financial assistance, then this is another route you can take.
Not only will this save them money on credit card fees and hours worked by office employees, but it will also save time spent on processing paperwork. This is a smart offer to make, as instant cash payments as opposed to electronic payments are a lot harder to say no to for any business or institution.
Ask for a payment plan
Thereâs a good chance that even after youâve asked for a lower price and offered to pay in cash, your medical provider will be unwilling to give you a deal. When this happens, there is still one more thing you can try. Before readily handing over your credit card, ask them if you can make payments on your bill. Most companies will allow you to do this and are used to working with people who are unable to pay their bills in full. Be honest about how much you are able to pay at a time.
Itâs likely that they will try to negotiate a higher payment amount, but politely tell them that itâs not feasible for you. Most of the time, they will be understanding and take whatever payment they can get. If youâre struggling financially, making small payments on your medical bills is the best way to go to keep your credit score in tact. As long as you are making payments on your bills, the companies will not report you to the credit bureaus.
Take precautionary measures
A lot of medical providers and medical facilities have programs that offer financial assistance, but you are going to have to ask them for it. Be transparent at the time of or even before your medical treatment occurs. If the treatment you are seeking is not a medical emergency, ask ahead of time if there is a cheaper option or if you can get a discount. If you donât have health insurance, this needs to be explained as early on as possible. Let your doctor know if you are living off of low income or if you are in the midst of some other type of financial hardship that is keeping you from being able to pay for service.
If you are successful in negotiating your medical bills, you might want to get it in writing so that you have proof. In some cases, you may even want to make your request in writing so that you have it on record in case anything goes wrong later. Once a deal has been agreed upon by both you and the medical provider or billing department, type up a summary of the conversation including key details of who you spoke to and the prices that were negotiated.
Other options for paying bills
There is no one-size-fits-all way of clearing your medical bills once and for all.Â Some people have insurance, some can afford to pay in full, and some are going to have to negotiate a lower price. If you have already tried negotiating medical bills and were unsuccessful, there are other options to explore. Here are some other ways you can go about paying your medical bills:
Medical credit cards: Thereâs no guarantee that your medical provider will accept a payment plan. However, most of the time, they will accept payment with the use of a medical credit card. If you have no other choice, ask your doctorâs office about how you can apply for a medical credit card. Usually, you are able to apply at the office right then and there. Most medical credit cards offer zero interest for up to 12 months. If you can manage to pay off the medical debt within that timeframe, then perhaps a medical credit card is a good choice for you. Be wary of this if you already have poor credit.
Personal loan: If youâve already been through all of your other options and were unable to make something work, it might be time to look at taking out a type of unsecured credit, such as a personal loan. If you have a significant amount of medical debt looming over your head, this might be a good idea as you can usually take out anywhere from $1,000 to $100,000. Once again, if you donât have a good history with using credit, seriously consider the pros and cons of doing this.
Interest free credit card: If you donât end up qualifying for a payment plan or a medical credit card, you can use a 0% interest credit card to pay the tab as long as you have good or outstanding credit.
Hire a medical bill advocate: If you feel overwhelmed by the task of reading through your medical bills and looking for errors, you can hire a professional to do it for you. Medical bill advocates are familiar with common procedures and the prices of treatments. If you have been wrongfully charged or overcharged, a medical bill advocate will be able to find this right away. Aside from pinpointing any errors, experts in medical bills will also do the negotiating for you.
If you are feeling overwhelmed by a large medical bill, remember that you have several options for taking care of it. It might be tempting to ignore the bill altogether but doing this could really damage your credit. Being honest with your medical provider from the beginning can prevent you from having to deal with extra costs. However, sometimes medical bills are ineveitable and we have to pay them. Consider payment plans or a medical credit card, but whatever you do, donât let your unpaid medical bills be a show stopper!
How to Negotiate Your Medical Debt is a post from Pocket Your Dollars.
Refinancing your student loans can make good financial sense, and thatâs especially true if your current loans are stuck at a high-interest rate. With a new loan at a lower APR, you could save a bundle of money on interest each month and ultimately pay your student debt off faster. Consolidating several loans into one new one can also simplify your financial life and make keeping up with bills a lot easier.
College Ave and Earnest topped our list, but since student loan refinancing is an incredibly competitive space, youâll also want to spend time comparing student loan companies to see who offers the best deal. Many lenders in this space offer incredibly low APRs, flexible payment options, borrower incentives, and more. This means itâs more important than ever to shop around so you wind up with the best student loan for your needs.
Compare rates from dozens of loan providers with Credible
What You Should Know About Refinancing Federal Student Loans with a Private Lender
The lenders on this list can help you consolidate and refinance both federal student loans and private student loans. However, there are a few details to be aware of before you refinance federal loans with a private lender.
Switching federal loans to private means giving up federal protections like deferment and forbearance. You also give up your chance to qualify for income-driven repayment plans like Pay As You Earn (PAYE) or Income Based Repayment (IBR). Income-driven repayment plans let you pay a percentage of your discretionary income for 20 to 25 years before ultimately forgiving your remaining loan balances, so this perk isnât one you should give up without careful thought and consideration.
Best Student Loan Refinancing Companies of 2021
As you start your search to find the best student loan for your lifestyle, take the time to compare lenders and all they offer their customers. While there are a ton of reputable companies offering high-quality student loan refinancing products on the market today, there are also companies you should probably steer clear of.
To make your search easier, we took the time to compare most of the top lenders in this space in terms of interest rates offered, fees, borrower benefits, and more. The following student loan companies are the cream of the crop, so you should start your search here.
Our Top Picks:
PenFed Credit Union
Student Loan Refinancing Company Reviews
1. Splash Financial
Splash Financial may be a newer company in the student loan refinancing space, but their offerings are competitive. This company lets you check your rate online without a hard inquiry on your credit report, and their variable rates currently start at just 2.25% APR.
Not only are interest rates offered by Splash Financial industry-leading, but the company has a 95% customer satisfaction rate so far. Their cutting-edge technology also lets you apply for your loan and complete the loan process online, meaning less hassle and stress for you as the borrower.
Check Out Splash Financialâs Low Rates
2. College Ave
College Ave offers student loan refinancing products that can be tailored to your needs. They offer low fixed and variable interest rates, for example, and youâll never pay an application fee or an origination fee. You can even qualify for a discount if you set your loan up on autopay, and a wide range of repayment schedules are available.
College Ave also offers a wide range of online calculators and tools that can help you figure out how much student loan refinancing could help you save and whether the move would be worth it in the end. Considering their low variable rates start at just 2.74% APR, thereâs a good chance you could save money by refinancing if you have excellent credit or a cosigner with great credit.
Get Started with College Ave
Earnest is another online lender that focuses most of its efforts on offering high-quality student loans. This company lets you consolidate debt at a lower interest rate than you might find elsewhere, and you get the option to pick a monthly payment and repayment period that works with your budget and your lifestyle.
While youâll need excellent credit to qualify for the lowest interest rates, loans from Earnest come with variable APRs starting at 1.81% and low fixed rates starting at just 3.45%. To qualify for student loan refinancing with Earnest, youâll need a minimum credit score of 650 and a strong employment and income history. You also need to be current on all your bills and cannot have a bankruptcy on your credit profile.
Refinance and Save with Earnest
Also make sure to check out student loan refinancing company SoFi as you continue your search. This online lender offers some of the best student loan refinancing products available today, including loans with no application fee, origination fee, or hidden fees.
SoFi lets you apply for and complete the entire loan process online, and they offer live customer support 7 days a week. You can also check your rate online without a hard inquiry on your credit report, which makes it easier to see how much you could save before you commit.
Get Pre-Approved with SoFi in Less than 2 Minutes
Commonbond is another online student lender who lets you check your rate online without a hard inquiry on your credit report. With student loan refinancing from Commonbond, you could easily save thousands of dollars on interest with a new fixed interest rate as low as 3.21%. Repayment terms are offered for 5 to 20 years as well, letting you choose a new monthly payment and repayment timeline that works for your needs.
You can apply for your new loan online and note that these loans donât come with an origination fee or any prepayment penalties. Your loan could also qualify for forbearance, which means having up to 24 months without payments during times of financial hardship.
Apply Online with Commonbond
LendKey offers private student loans and flexible student loan refinancing options to serve a variety of needs. You can repay your loan between 5 and 20 years, and their refinance loans donât charge an origination fee.
You can use this companyâs online interface to check your rate without a hard inquiry on your credit report, and variable APRs start at just 2.01% for graduates with excellent credit. LendKey loans also receive 9.3 out of 10 possible stars in recent reviews, meaning their customers are mostly happy with their decision to go with this company.
Save Thousands by Refinancing with LendKey
7. Wells Fargo
While Wells Fargo is mostly popular for their banking products, home mortgage products, and personal loans, this bank also offers student loan refinancing products. These loans let you consolidate student debts into a new loan with a low variable or fixed interest rate, and you can even score a discount for setting your loan up on autopay.
Terms for Wells Fargo loans are available anywhere from 5 to 20 years, meaning you can choose a repayment schedule and monthly payment that suits your needs. Wells Fargo also lets you check your rate online without a hard inquiry on your credit report.
Get Started with Wells Fargo
8. PenFed Credit Union
PenFed Credit Union offers unique student loan products powered by Purefy. You might be able to qualify for a lower interest rate that could lead to enormous interest savings over time, and PenFed lets you choose a repayment term and monthly payment that fits with your budget and lifestyle.
You can apply for student loan refinancing on your own, but PenFed Credit Union also allows cosigners. Low fixed interest rates start at just 3.48% APR, and you can check your rate online without a hard inquiry on your credit report.
Learn More about PenFed Credit Union
What To Look For When Refinancing
If you decide you want to refinance your student loans, youâll be happy to know the refinancing market is more robust than ever. A variety of lenders offer insanely attractive loan options for those who can qualify, although you should know that student loan companies tend to be very finicky about your credit score. Some also wonât let you refinance if you didnât graduate from college, or even if you graduated from an âunapprovedâ school.
While you should be aware of any lender-specific eligibility requirements before you apply with any student loan company, there are plenty of other factors to look out for. Hereâs everything you should look for in a student loan refinancing company before you decide to trust them with your loans.
Low Interest Rate
Obviously, the main reason youâre probably thinking of refinancing your loans is the potential to save money on interest. Lenders who offer the lowest rates available today can potentially help you save more, although itâs important to consider that you may not qualify for the lowest rates available if you donât have excellent credit.
Also consider that most lenders will offer better rates and loan terms if you have a cosigner with better credit than you have. This is especially true if your credit isnât great, so make sure to ask family members if theyâre willing to cosign on your new student loan if you hope to get the best rate. Just remember that your cosigner will be jointly liable for repayment, meaning you could quickly damage your relationship if you default on your loan and leave them holding the bag.
Low Fees or No Fees
Student loans are like any other loan in the fact that some charge higher fees or more fees than others. Since many student loans come with an application fee or an origination fee, youâll want to look for lenders that donât charge these fees. Also check for hidden fees like prepayment penalties.
Some student loan companies let you qualify for discounts, the most popular of which is a discount for using autopay. If youâre able and willing to set up automatic payments on your credit card, you could save .25% or .50% off your interest rate depending on the lender you go with.
Rate Check Option
Many of the top student loan refinancing companies on this list make it possible to check your interest rate online without a hard inquiry on your credit report. This is a huge benefit since knowing your rate can help you figure out if refinancing is even worth it before you take the time to fill out a full loan application.
Flexible Repayment Plan
Also make sure any lender you go with offers some flexibility in your repayment plan and your monthly payment. Youâll want to make sure refinancing aligns with your long-term financial goals and your monthly budget, and itâs crucial to choose a new loan with a monthly payment you can live with.
Most lenders in this space offer repayment timelines of up to 20 years, which means you could spread your payments over several decades to get a monthly payment that makes sense with your income. Keep in mind, however, that youâll pay more interest over the life of your loan when you take a long time to pay it off, so you may want to consider prioritizing a faster payment plan.
The Bottom Line
Student loan refinancing may not sound like a lot of fun. However, taking the time to consider all your loan options could easily save you thousands of dollars. This is especially true if you have a lot of debt at a high interest rate. By consolidating all your student loans into a new one with a lower APR, you could make loan repayment easier with a single payment and save a ton of money that would otherwise go to straight to interest without helping you pay off your loans.
The first step of the loan process is the hardest, however, and thatâs choosing a student loan refinancing company that you trust. The lenders on this list are highly rated, but they also offer some of the best loan products on the market today.
Work with College Ave, our top pick, to refinance your student loan.
Start your search here and youâre bound to wind up with a student loan you can live with. At the very least, you’ll have a better idea of the loans that are available and how much you might save if you decide to refinance later on.
The post The Best Student Loan Companies For Refinancing appeared first on Good Financial CentsÂ®.
The post The No-Cash Envelope System That Works appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.
I am a strong believer in the cash envelope system. It works great for our family. But I also know that is not the case for everyone.Â You may not want to use cash but love the envelope system concept.Â Fortunately, there is a program you can use that marries your desire to use plastic with the discipline of a cash envelope budget.
When it comes to managing your money, spending and trying to get out of debt, there are many programs and apps out there. But, not all of them can do everything.Â That means one app for your budget, another for trying to get out of debt and then yet another for managing your spending.
ProActive does it all.Â You can manage your money, spending, budgeting, and debt payoff – all from one simple to manage app! But, before you jump in and download it, make sure you read this honest review.Â That way, you’ll know what to expect!
What is ProActive?
ProActive combines the beauty of shopping with plastic and the discipline of cash envelopes.Â The system ensures that you never overspend – ever!Â Just like with cash, when the envelope is empty, you are done shopping!
What is the cash envelope budget?
A cash envelope budget is what it sounds like. Rather than using plastic to shop you get cash and place the budgeted amounts into envelopes.Â For example, if your budget for food is $200 a paycheck, then you get cash and place $200 in an envelope earmarked for groceries.
When you grocery shop, you use only the cash in the envelope. That is all you have available to spend. It is impossible to overspend.Â If there is only $20 left then that means you can’t spend $22.Â There is not enough money there.
It is a system that works very well for people who want to better manage and control spending.
How does it work?
Once you sign up and create your account, you will get a ProActive branded debit card.Â When you are ready to spend, you use the ProActive card.Â But, before you can swipe, you have to let the app know which envelope the money needs to come from.Â That way, you always stay on budget and don’t spend more than you should.
Add funds to your account
When you get paid, review your budget.Â Pay the bills that are due.Â What you have left over is what you have left to spend on everything else on your budget.Â It will include items such as clothing, household items, personal care and beauty, groceries, entertainment, dues, etc.
You will go into the app and click the “+” icon.Â That starts the transfer from your bank account to your ProActive debit card.
Allocate the money to your virtual envelopes
Once the funds are deposited, you have to assign an amount to each category (a.k.a. envelope).Â Review the budget to see what you have available to spend.
Shop as usual (but pay with the ProActive card)
You can’t swipe your card until you have told the card which category (or envelope) the money should come from.Â Simply open the app and click the spend category.Â Then you can swipe.
If there is not enough money left in the category to cover your purchase, it will be declined.Â That makes it impossible to overspend.
The smart way to use ProActive
As parents, we teach our kids.Â They need to know how to take care of themselves, cook, clean and do other things around the house.Â But, it seems that financial responsibility is one that gets overlooked.
One thing that ProActive allows is for you to add your kids and teach them how to manage their own money.Â You can put funds on their account and they too can set up categories.Â And, just like mom and dad, they have to select the category before they spend so they are not spending more than they should either.
ProActive not only teaches your kids how to use a debit card, but also the financial responsibilities that go along with it.Â And, it is in an environment that both mom and dad can see (and control).
Who is ProActive a fit for?
Just like with every other app or budget system there is never a one-size-fits-all system. That means this may not work for you.Â If you love your credit card for the rewards then this will not work for you.Â You can’t attach a credit card and use this program.
But, if you struggle to try to manage your money and spending then you really need to get this app. It makes it impossible to overspend and helps you learn how to think about every purchase you make.Â You may not need to use it forever as you will become disciplined.
What does it cost?
When you sign up, ProActive will give you a 15-day trial.Â They want to make sure it is a fit for you before they make you pay.Â Then, if you love it, you continue at $5.75 a month (paid annually, so $69).Â You can add a second user for $29 a year and even add your kids for just $24 each.
What happens if I forget my phone?
It happens.Â We leave our phones behind. In that case, it is important that you always have an alternative payment method handy, such as your bank debit card, credit card or cash.
If your goal is to get out of debt, you have to first start with your budget and spending. If you don’t do that, you will never achieve your goals.Â ProActive is one tool that helps you every step of the way.
The post The No-Cash Envelope System That Works appeared first on Penny Pinchin' Mom.
Paying off debt with âgazelle intensityâ is a great way to get rid of debt quickly. Cutting your budget to a nearly bare-bones level and working hard to increase your income, speed up debt payments and save up for retirement will help you make great progress on your financial goals, but most people can only live on a strict budget for so long before they begin experiencing debt burnout.
Find out now: How much do you need to save for retirement?
What is Debt Burnout?
Burnout is feeling exhausted with your day-to-day routine or the lack of flexibility in your budget. Some people get tired of not having extra money in their food budget to go out to eat occasionally or buy a wider variety of foods at the grocery store. Others grow tired of having little to no budget for entertainment and fun. Burnout leaves you feeling fatigued, frustrated and ready to give up on your debt-free dreams.
Beating Debt Burnout
After youâve diagnosed yourself with debt burnout, itâs important to take immediate steps to correct it so you donât end up un-doing all the progress youâve made toward paying off your debt. The steps to beating burnout donât have to be drastic. Itâs possible to do it by making a few simple adjustments.
1. Reassess Your Budget
After youâve paid down some of your debt, itâs common to start feeling some burnout from the lack of flexibility in your budget. This may be a good time to reassess your budget and perhaps give yourself a little more money for things you enjoy, like increasing how much you spend on entertainment or giving yourself a little more money for going out to eat with friends and family. This may decrease the amount of money going to debt payments, but thatâs better than getting burnt out and going on a crazy credit card shopping spree down the road.
2. Plan a Fun Trip or Event
While your family is paying off debt, itâs common to give up all vacations, trips and fun events. But when you start experiencing debt burnout, planning for one of these events is a great way to stay motivated and give your family something to look forward to. The trip or event doesnât have to be a huge and expensive ordeal. Even a short day or weekend trip is something to look forward to when you are living on such a tight budget. Try planning for when you hit a milestone â paying off half of your debt or even for when the whole thing is paid off.
3. Find Some Support
When you start to feel burnt out and unmotivated to continue your debt payoff journey, seeking out an accountability partner is a great way to help you stay on track. Single people can especially benefit from having someone to confide in and bounce ideas off of. But even couples and families can use the outside perspective of an accountability partner to help them keep focused on their financial goals and beat debt burnout.
Debt burnout is a real thing that many people struggle with as they work their way out of debt. The more debt you have to begin with and the longer the time frame for paying it off, the more likely it is that youâll face burnout at some point.
Find out now: Should I get a fixed or adjustable rate mortgage?
What other ways can you think of to help beat debt burnout?
Photo credit: flickr
The post 3 Ways to Beat Debt Burnout appeared first on SmartAsset Blog.
Sometimes, you notice right away if you have been overcharged for an item. If you pick up a box of cereal marked $2.99 and see it listed at $3.22 on your receipt, that error is pretty easy to spot.
In other cases, price discrepancies arenât so obvious, as seen in a new pre-filled propane tank class-action settlement offer.
Check out this monthâs highlighted class-action settlement offers, some of which have taken years of litigation, to see if you can benefit.
AmeriGas Propane Tanks
If you bought an AmeriGas or Blue Rhino pre-filled propane tank between Dec. 1, 2009 and Nov. 30, 2020, you could be eligible for a portion of a $6.5 million settlement.
AmeriGas and Blue Rhino allegedly agreed with each other to reduce the amount of propane in the pre-filled tanks they sold from 17 pounds to 15 pounds without reducing the price, according to court documents. The lawsuit accused the companies of colluding to reduce the amount of product in the propane tanks while keeping the cost the same in order to increase their profit margin by more than 13% per pound.
AmeriGas admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to the settlement to end litigation. Even though consumers who bought either AmeriGas or Blue Rhino propane tanks may be affected by this settlement, it only resolves claims made regarding AmeriGas because the Blue Rhino case is ongoing.
There are two settlement classes:
The Indirect Purchaser Settlement Class is made up of those who purchased AmeriGas or Blue Rhino propane tanks, other than a wholesale purchase directly from AmeriGas or Blue Rhino for resale, in Arizona, California, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah or West Virginia between Dec. 1, 2009 and Nov. 30, 2020.
The Direct Purchaser Settlement Class is made up of consumers nationwide who purchased one of the propane tanks directly from AmeriGas or Blue Rhino through a vending machine at retailers or other locations, or paid one of the companies directly through a vending machine to exchange a previously purchased propane tank, other than a wholesale purchase intended for resale.
Consumers can claim a cash payment of $5 for each tank when they provide proof of purchase along with a completed claim form. If no proof of purchase is submitted, the payment is $2.50 each for a maximum of 50 propane tanks.
Submit your valid claim by March 8, 2021.
ABB Optical Group LLC Contact Lenses
You may be eligible to share in a $30.2 million settlement reached with contact lens distributor ABB Optical Group LLC over allegations of a conspiracy to increase the cost of contact lenses.
If you purchased disposable contacts made by Alcon, Johnson & Johnson Vision Care, CVI or Bausch & Lomb between June 1, 2013 and Dec. 4 ,2018, you may be eligible for compensation. However, Bausch & Lomb contact lenses bought through 1-800-Contacts after July 1, 2015 are not included in this settlement.
The suit alleged contact lens manufacturers, independent optometrists and ABB agreed to âunilateral pricing policiesâ that prevented competition from online and discount contact lens retailers. This agreement purportedly began in June 2013.
The settlement money provided by ABB will be added to the claims made under previous settlements with contact lens manufacturers. The estimated amount that will be provided to each consumer is not available at this time.
See if you qualify and submit your valid claim by March 10, 2021.
If you received a call from Synchrony Bank between June 1, 2016 and Oct. 19, 2020, you could receive a portion of a $2.9 million class-action settlement.
Synchrony Bank allegedly violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) by calling individuals who did not have an account with the bank. These unsolicited calls were made by an automatic dialing system or artificial/pre-recorded voice, which is in violation of the TCPA unless the caller has prior written consent from the recipient.
Payment amounts will vary, but are estimated between $25 and $50.
Submit your valid claim by March 1, 2021.
Stonefire Naan Bread
You may be eligible for a portion of a $1.9 million settlement from the maker of Stonefire Naan products, FGF Brands, if you bought their naan bread that was marketed as baked in a tandoor oven between Nov. 16, 2013 and Oct. 23, 2020.
If you bought any of these products within that time period, you may claim $2.50 for each item purchased:
Stonefire Original Naan
Stonefire Roasted Garlic Naan
Stonefire Whole Grain Naan
Stonefire Organic Original Naan
Stonefire Original Mini Naan
Stonefire Ancient Grain Mini Naan
Stonefire Naan Dippers
Consumers alleged FGF Brands bakes its naan in a conveyor-style, gas-heated oven even though the company claims the breads are baked in a tandoor oven, which is a clay oven that uses charcoal heat that produces smoky flavors.
The lawsuit alleges FGF Brands used fraudulent and deceptive advertising to market its use of a tandoor oven. FGF Brands denies that it has violated any laws.
Consumers may receive $2.50 for each product purchased, but only five may be claimed without a receipt. With proof of purchase, consumers can claim an unlimited number of products.
Submit your valid claim by Feb. 18, 2021.
21st Century Oncology
If you are one of the 2.2 million patients whose personal information was accessed through a 2015 data breach of 21stCentury Oncology, you could be eligible for compensation from a $12.5 million class-action settlement.
In October 2015, hackers accessed names, Social Security numbers, doctorsâ names, medical diagnoses, treatment plans and insurance information. Patients whose data was breached should have received a notice from the cancer treatment center in March 2016.
Several affected consumers filed lawsuits alleging 21st Century Oncology failed to take reasonable cybersecurity steps to protect personal data. 21st Century Oncology admitted to no wrongdoing, but agreed to the settlement to resolve the litigation.
Several forms of relief are available, including:
Two years of credit monitoring through Identity Guard.
Cash payments up to $40 for lost time without any documentation (two hours valued at $20 per hour.)
Cash payments of up to $260 for lost time with documentation (13 hours valued at $20 per hour.)
Cash payments of up to $10,000 for any fraud and out-of-pocket expenses incurred because of the data breach.
Submit your valid claim by the May 10, 2021 deadline.
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Walmart, Samâs Club Sales Tax Refund
Customers who returned an item bought at Walmart or Samâs Club between July 17, 2015 and Nov. 25, 2020 may be eligible for part of a $5 million settlement.
Walmart and Samâs Club were accused providing some customers with incomplete refunds by not including the sales tax paid on the original purchase.
The exact cash payment per customer is not available and will depend upon the number of claims filed and the net settlement fund after attorneyâs fees, costs and other expenses are deducted.
Complete and submit your valid online claim form by April 1, 2021.
If you made a purchase at a Godiva Chocolatier retail store between April 6, 2013 and Nov. 20, 2015, you may be eligible to share in a $6.3 million class-action settlement.
The settlement benefits customers who made a debit or credit card purchase and received a point-of-sale receipt that displayed more than the last five digits of the card number.
The Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) prohibits any more than the last five digits from appearing on such a receipt in order to protect consumers.
The complaint alleged Godiva receipts contained 10 digits, including the first six and the last four of the card numbers on its point-of-sale receipts.
Eligible class members might have received a notice regarding a Godiva settlement in 2016 as the case was pending in U.S. District Court in Florida. The case was later refiled in Cook County, Illinois, so if you submitted a valid claim response to the 2016 notice, you do not need to file a new claim in order to receive a payment.
Potential awards are expected to be between $55 and $60.
If you did not submit a valid claim response to the 2016 notice, but you do qualify for this settlement, submit your claim by March 22, 2021.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.
Taking care of aging parents is something you may need to plan for, especially if you think one or both of them might need long-term care. One thing you may not know is that some states have filial responsibility laws that require adult children to help financially with the cost of nursing home care. Whether these laws affect you or not depends largely on where you live and what financial resources your parents have to cover long-term care. But itâs important to understand how these laws work to avoid any financial surprises as your parents age.
Filial Responsibility Laws, Definition
Filial responsibility laws are legal rules that hold adult children financially responsible for their parentsâ medical care when parents are unable to pay. More than half of U.S. states have some type of filial support or responsibility law, including:
Puerto Rico also has laws regarding filial responsibility. Broadly speaking, these laws require adult children to help pay for things like medical care and basic needs when a parent is impoverished. But the way the laws are applied can vary from state to state. For example, some states may include mental health treatment as a situation requiring children to pay while others donât. States can also place time limitations on how long adult children are required to pay.
When Do Filial Responsibility Laws Apply?
If you live in a state that has filial responsibility guidelines on the books, itâs important to understand when those laws can be applied.
Generally, you may have an obligation to pay for your parentsâ medical care if all of the following apply:
One or both parents are receiving some type of state government-sponsored financial support to help pay for food, housing, utilities or other expenses
One or both parents has nursing home bills they canât pay
One or both parents qualifies for indigent status, which means their Social Security benefits donât cover their expenses
One or both parents are ineligible for Medicaid help to pay for long-term care
Itâs established that you have the ability to pay outstanding nursing home bills
If you live in a state with filial responsibility laws, itâs possible that the nursing home providing care to one or both of your parents could come after you personally to collect on any outstanding bills owed. This means the nursing home would have to sue you in small claims court.
If the lawsuit is successful, the nursing home would then be able to take additional collection actions against you. That might include garnishing your wages or levying your bank account, depending on what your state allows.
Whether youâre actually subject to any of those actions or a lawsuit depends on whether the nursing home or care provider believes that you have the ability to pay. If youâre sued by a nursing home, you may be able to avoid further collection actions if you can show that because of your income, liabilities or other circumstances, youâre not able to pay any medical bills owed by your parents.
Filial Responsibility Laws and Medicaid
While Medicare does not pay for long-term care expenses, Medicaid can. Medicaid eligibility guidelines vary from state to state but generally, aging seniors need to be income- and asset-eligible to qualify. If your aging parents are able to get Medicaid to help pay for long-term care, then filial responsibility laws donât apply. Instead, Medicaid can paid for long-term care costs.
There is, however, a potential wrinkle to be aware of. Medicaid estate recovery laws allow nursing homes and long-term care providers to seek reimbursement for long-term care costs from the deceased personâs estate. Specifically, if your parents transferred assets to a trust then your stateâs Medicaid program may be able to recover funds from the trust.
You wouldnât have to worry about being sued personally in that case. But if your parents used a trust as part of their estate plan, any Medicaid recovery efforts could shrink the pool of assets you stand to inherit.
Talk to Your Parents About Estate Planning and Long-Term Care
If you live in a state with filial responsibility laws (or even if you donât), itâs important to have an ongoing conversation with your parents about estate planning, end-of-life care and where that fits into your financial plans.
You can start with the basics and discuss what kind of care your parents expect to need and who they want to provide it. For example, they may want or expect you to care for them in your home or be allowed to stay in their own home with the help of a nursing aide. If thatâs the case, itâs important to discuss whether thatâs feasible financially.
If you believe that a nursing home stay is likely then you may want to talk to them about purchasing long-term care insurance or a hybrid life insurance policy that includes long-term care coverage. A hybrid policy can help pay for long-term care if needed and leave a death benefit for you (and your siblings if you have them) if your parents donât require nursing home care.
Speaking of siblings, you may also want to discuss shared responsibility for caregiving, financial or otherwise, if you have brothers and sisters. This can help prevent resentment from arising later if one of you is taking on more of the financial or emotional burdens associated with caring for aging parents.
If your parents took out a reverse mortgage to provide income in retirement, itâs also important to discuss the implications of moving to a nursing home. Reverse mortgages generally must be repaid in full if long-term care means moving out of the home. In that instance, you may have to sell the home to repay a reverse mortgage.
The Bottom Line
Filial responsibility laws could hold you responsible for your parentsâ medical bills if theyâre unable to pay whatâs owed. If you live in a state that has these laws, itâs important to know when you may be subject to them. Helping your parents to plan ahead financially for long-term needs can help reduce the possibility of you being on the hook for nursing care costs unexpectedly.
Tips for Estate Planning
Consider talking to a financial advisor about what filial responsibility laws could mean for you if you live in a state that enforces them. If you donât have a financial advisor yet, finding one doesnât have to be a complicated process. SmartAssetâs financial advisor matching tool can help you connect, in just minutes, with professional advisors in your local area. If youâre ready, get started now.
When discussing financial planning with your parents, there are other things you may want to cover in addition to long-term care. For example, you might ask whether theyâve drafted a will yet or if they think they may need a trust for Medicaid planning. Helping them to draft an advance healthcare directive and a power of attorney can ensure that you or another family member has the authority to make medical and financial decisions on your parentsâ behalf if theyâre unable to do so.