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Rules of Engagement — What It Takes to Manage Your Estate

One of the most important decisions you will make with regard to your estate is selecting the right fiduciaries to manage it. You will need an executor to oversee the disposition of your will and a trustee to manage and maintain any trusts that exist. While the responsibilities of each of these administrators may differ slightly, the overall goal is to ensure that your assets are managed according to your wishes after you are gone.

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No Equity? No problem.

For the month of February, snowfall totals in Rhode Island were nearly two feet above normal. This dreary winter weather has led many of us to start dreaming about those home improvement projects we’d like to tackle once spring finally arrives. According to HGTV, the network shattered its own ratings records to deliver a "best month ever" performance for the month of February. That’s a lot of viewers thinking about updating their kitchen, designing new landscaping, adding a pool, or completing a wide range of other home improvement projects. The question of how to pay for those projects is challenging. For some, the answer is borrowing against the equity in their home. For others, that equity is just not available. Don’t let that lack of equity stop your project.

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7 Things To Remember When Hiring A Contractor

A home improvement loan is a great way to help pay for big or small upgrades and remodels to your home. Washington Trust’s Home Improvement Express Loan is perfect for financing roof or window repairs, a new patio or driveway, a new furnace, or any other home improvement on your list. But whether you're planning an addition for a growing family or simply getting new storm windows, finding a competent and reliable contractor is the first step to a successful and satisfying home improvement project.

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When to Choose a Corporate Fiduciary

A corporate fiduciary is often more effective than a family member serving as fiduciary, especially for trusts and estates with complex family and asset issues. Many assume that a family member is the best choice to serve as trustee and executor of their estate. In addition to perceiving this option as less costly, they believe that a family member is in the best position to understand the family's unique needs. This article explores five of the most important elements in deciding between a family member and corporate fiduciary.

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Maintaining Separate Asset Ownership Can Benefit Estate Planning

Many couples pool their money and hold checking, savings, and investment accounts jointly. The sense of "share and share alike" can be comforting, but when it comes to estate planning, jointly held funds can limit your options.

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The Taxman Cometh: 10 Tips for Smooth Tax-Filing

The income tax filing season has begun and important tax documents should be arriving in your mailbox. Even though your return is not due until April, you can make tax time easier on yourself with an early start. Here are the Internal Revenue Service's top 10 tips to ensure a smooth tax-filing process.

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Snow Shoveling Safety

Winter is upon us. And while the beauty of freshly fallen snow can bring feelings of joy and warmth, those feelings can quickly dissipate when it comes time to go out in the cold and shovel it. Buried in those pretty snowflakes are hidden health dangers, including risks of heart attacks, back injuries, and other health problems.

While you can't control the amount and frequency of snowstorms, you can control your chances of getting an injury from shoveling. Here are some smart tips for snow shoveling safety:

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Fuel Economy in Cold Weather

Even though gas prices have gone down in recent weeks, it is still important to consider ways to conserve fuel as cold weather and winter driving conditions can reduce your fuel economy significantly. Fuel economy tests show that, in short-trip city driving, a conventional gasoline car's gas mileage is about 12% lower at 20°F than it would be at 77°F. It can drop as much as 22% for very short trips (3 to 4 miles). The effect on hybrids is worse. Their fuel economy can drop about 31% to 34% under these conditions.

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10 Financial Tips For National Get Organized Month

If one of your New Year's resolutions was to get organized, this is the month to take action! January is National Get Organized Month, and when it comes to your finances, its time to ditch bad habits and replace them with good ones. Here are some tips to get financially organized this New Year.

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Money and Banking Tips for the Tax Season

How can you save money and avoid a variety of problems at tax time?

Guard against tax-related frauds. Examples include scam e-mails falsely claiming to come from the IRS. Many of these are intended to trick taxpayers into revealing Social Security numbers and other personal information that can be used by criminals to steal victims' identity and money, including tax refunds. Others involve phone callers saying the taxpayer owes money to the IRS that must be paid promptly by wire transfer (that actually goes to the crook) or by loading funds onto a prepaid debit card and then sharing the number. The scammer may try to intimidate a targeted victim who refuses to cooperate, such as by threatening arrest or suspension of a business or driver's license.

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An Investment in Time: A Financial Calendar for the Coming Year

You could probably accomplish a lot of financial goals, both big and small ones, this year simply by focusing on one specific priority each month. The calendar presented here will stimulate your thinking about a variety of dollars-and-cents objectives.

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Charitable Contributions: Giving Thanks

With the holidays upon us, it's time to think about giving. Not just to family and friends, but to charitable organizations that qualify for tax deductions on your tax return. If you itemize your deductions on Form 1040, Schedule A, you can deduct contributions to qualified organizations, including religious, charitable, educational, scientific, and literary groups.

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Take a Bite Out of Taxes: Five Tax-Savvy Strategies

While it's likely you've experienced the effect taxes can have on your income, are you aware of the impact they can have on your investments? If not, you may want to speak with your tax advisor and qualified financial professional, and then consider the following strategies:

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The opinions expressed in this newsletter are those of the author and may not reflect those of The Washington Trust Company. The information in this report has been obtained from sources believed to be reliable, but its accuracy and completeness are not guaranteed. Any opinions expressed herein are subject to change at any time without notice. Any person relying upon this information shall be solely responsible for the consequences of such reliance. Performance is historical and does not guarantee future results.

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