The Latest News December 2019


Via Email:    


Blog Categories

Want a Happy Relationship? The World's 'Most Comprehensive Study' Says It Comes Down to Just 1 Thing

Posted On: December 24, 2019

Many studies show that having a good primary relationship with a significant other or spouse is one of the best ways to achieve happiness. 

A massive University research project described as the most comprehensive study of marriage happiness to date, says that there is a single fact or characteristic that has an impact on whether relationships are good enough and whether the people in them will ultimately be happy or frustrated.

We often think of things that are important for relationships as compatibility, growth, sexual attraction, intelligence, wisdom or shared values.  However, this study found that the single attribute is KINDNESS.  The study included combing through data of 2,500 long term married couples together twenty (20) years or more to boil this down to this one characteristic. 

The research found that people being happier in their relationship also reported that they had higher levels of agreeableness (be considerate and kind to others) and lower levels of emotional instability (a person who worries a lot).  Surprisingly, whether couples had common interests or similar personalities did not have much effect at all on happiness.  Instead of looking for what you may consider to be true compatibility, the bigger and maybe smarter question is, is the person you are dating nice or do they have a lot of anxiety?  It is those attributes that appear to matter more.

So what if you are already in a long term relationship?  Relationships are made of an infinite number of small interactions, and if a couple can be conscious of those interactions and be active listeners with empathy, expressing warmth and interest to one’s spouse or partner, can make a significant difference, even if the dance of your relationship is well established.  It doesn’t mean you cannot wake up and change how you interact with one another.  If we can all respond to our partner with interest and warmth, even if we cannot do that all time, then show that we are interested in hearing about it but may not be able to listen to the issue at a particular moment.  When we make a misstep or mistake as we will all do, own up to it and recognize it and apologize for it.  

Again, being kind and nurturing to a partner and the multitude of simple acts of kindness can go an incredibly long way. 

Selected excerpt(s), photo and linked article courtesy of Bill Murphy, Jr., of Inc. and Getty Images.


10 Common Estate Planning Mistakes to Avoid

Posted On: December 22, 2019

End of life or estate planning is about getting plans in place to manage risks at the end of your life and beyond. And while it might be uncomfortable to discuss or plan for the end, everyone knows that no one will live forever. Sometimes it takes a significant event like a health scare to shake us from our procrastination. Don’t wait for life to happen to you, though. You want to make sure all you have worked hard for goes to the people you want it to go to and lastly you don’t want it going to the State!

10 Things to Remember

  1. Make a Plan.
  2. Update as life and plans change and new blessings come into your life 😊
  3. Plan for disability and long-term care.
  4. If estate taxes are applicable make sure they are accounted for.
  5. Make sure ownership of personal as well as real property are properly titled and MAKE SURE beneficiaries are correct and properly named and updated overtime as things in life are always changing.
  6. Understand and know what your liquidity is.
  7. Consider tax impact of income taxes for you and your beneficiaries.
  8. If you have minor children, are they provided for financially?  Have a plan.  Who will care for them?  Who will take care of their finances?  Does not have to be the same person!
  9. If you are leaving a gift to a charity or an organization, church, temple, or any nonprofit, make sure you have the required information so the gift will be honored.
  10. Make sure you are aware of beneficiaries on retirement assets and know the impact.

Selected excerpt(s) and linked article courtesy of Jamie P. Hopkins, Director of Retirement Research at Kiplinger.
Selected photo(s) courtesy of Getty Images.


Can CNY Christian Adoption Agency Exclude Gays, Unmarried Couples? NY Law Faces High-Profile Court Test

Posted On: December 09, 2019

To piggy back off of last week's post, NY now has its own hot profile case on the LGBTQ adoption issue.

A Syracuse Christian adoption agency says it doesn't take gay or unmarried couples as adoptive parents because it's not "in the best interests of children." New York has said New Hope Family Services will face closure if it doesn't comply with the state's anti-discrimination law.

New York in 2013 issued new regulations to adoption agencies, prohibiting them from discriminating against applicants who sought their services. The anti-discrimination rules covered everything from race to religion, sexual orientation to marital status. In the fall of 2018, after New York’s anti-discrimination regulations had been on the books for a few years, New York’s Office of Child and Family Services came to Syracuse for a routine inspection of New Hope. Thereafter OCFS told New Hope it would have to comply with state regulations. It would have to begin placing children with same-sex and unmarried couples. New Hope refused on religious grounds and OCFS made it clear in subsequent emails and letters it was delivering an ultimatum: Change the policy of not accepting certain couples, or shut down. New Hope filed suit and its case is now on appeal. New York says New Hope isn’t forced to do anything. The state insists that New Hope can always stop participating in public adoptions. But if it wants to continue this work, it simply must cooperate and follow the state’s rules.  Here, the law is concerned not only with New Hope’s religious freedom and discrimination against prospective adoptive parents -- but adoption is a heavily regulated process, in which a child’s rights and future is also at stake.

The New York attorney general, defending the state, also argues the case is different because adoption is conduct, not speech.

Selected excerpt(s), photo and linked article courtesy of Julie McMahon of


Michigan Adoption Agencies Can Turn Away LGBTQ Couples, Judge Rules

Posted On: December 02, 2019

I've been meaning to post this important ruling...

Religious-based adoption agencies that contract with Michigan will be allowed to refuse to place children in LGBTQ homes under a preliminary injunction.

"Today's ruling requires the state to put the individual religious beliefs of foster care agencies ahead of the welfare of children," said Jay Kaplan, staff attorney for the ACLU of Michigan's LGBT Project. "This will not facilitate foster and adoptive placements for children in need. Instead, it will allow agencies to turn away same-sex foster parents who are able to provide supportive and loving homes for these children."

Selected excerpt(s) courtesy of The Associated Press.  Selected photo courtesy of Rebecca Cook / Reuters file