Plan. Protect. Preserve.
OFFICES: Brighton | Bloomfield Hills | Livonia | Novi
BEGIN THE COUNTDOWN Looking Ahead to 2018
When you have young kids, New Year’s Eve might as well be retitled “Makin’ it Till Midnight.” Our son, Ryan, and daughter, Madison, always begin the evening with every intention of staying up until the clock strikes 12. However, given that they are 7 and 5, respectively, that’s more of a pipe dream than an achievable goal. After all, Rochelle and I aren’t about to put some coffee in their juice boxes!
I also have my own spin on the other big New Year’s tradition: resolutions. To be honest, I’m not a big fan of making resolutions for the sake of the holiday. On the other hand, I’m a proponent of setting goals, so I guess you could say I make resolutions on a rolling basis. I categorize my goals into one of three types: lifetime, three- year, and one-year. When I cross one off, I add another. You might think shooting for lifetime goals is overly lofty or ambitious. But I’ve found that simply making these goals is a healthy exercise in planning. Especially after I became a father, I’ve given thought to the legacy I will leave my family. I assume being an elder care attorney doesn’t hurt in that regard, either. Developing a comprehensive estate plan is often a goal people put off in favor of more immediate needs. I’ve found that the beginning of the year, when you have a generous tank of momentum, is the best time to address the gaps in your estate planning. Even taking the small step to call us and set up a meeting will yield benefits when the goal-setting fuel begins to redline. Once you set a plan in motion, it’s a lot easier to see it through. As you’re thinking about what to accomplish this year, ask yourself how legacy planning fits into your goals. Odds are, it can help you achieve peace of mind. I totally understand that elder care and estate planning are difficult subjects to talk about, and the laws surrounding them can be migraine-inducingly complex. Our team is here to make the process clearer and to guide
“When Rochelle and I sense the kids are starting to get sleepy, we cue up a countdown. This way, they get to experience all the excitement of New Year’s without having to burn any midnight oil.”
you through it. The decisions you make regarding your care and legacy are yours alone, but navigating the world of wills and trusts is a lot easier when you have some support. Set yourself a goal to do some estate planning in 2018. That way, when the ball drops in 2019, you’ll only have to worry about reviewing your plan, rather than creating one. I hope you have a wonderful year!
make even the earliest sleepers partake in a little of the New Year’s festivities. They have a number of themed “New Year’s Eve Countdowns” available to stream well before the real thing. When Rochelle and I sense the kids are starting to get sleepy, we cue up a countdown. This way, they get to experience all the excitement of New Year’s without having to burn any midnight oil. It may be a far cry from the days I spent watching Dick Clark as a kid, but it certainly does the trick. To them, it’s as good as seeing the Times Square ball drop in person.
– Christopher J. Berry
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IS YOUR LIFESTYLE RETIREMENT READY? Why Rightsizing Makes for Better Life After Work
The earlier you can begin rightsizing, the more prepared you’ll be for the days when you no longer have an income from work. For most of us, what really matters when we retire is spending time with loved ones and having memorable experiences. Nobody’s greatest regret is not having enough stuff. With that in mind, here are a few tips that will prepare you for a fruitful and fulfilling retirement. CLEAR OUT UNNEEDED GOODS If you’ve been in the same home for years or decades, you probably have more stuff than you need. Start by discarding anything that’s broken, damaged, or simply not getting any use. You should also make sure you’re not acting as a storage unit for friends or family members. If they don’t have the space for something, it shouldn’t be your job to hang on to it. Eliminating clutter will free up your space and allow you to treasure what you have. MOVE INTO A HOUSE YOU CAN FILL Once all of your children have left the nest, you’ll often find that you don’t need as many rooms. Selling your home and moving into one that isn’t half-empty will generate some extra cash and help you to live more efficiently. As an added bonus, you’ll often find that a cozier home increases happiness. The less time you have to spend on home maintenance, the more you can devote to the activities you love. CHANGE YOUR MINDSET Too often, we suffer from the urge to “keep up with the Joneses.” If our neighbor buys something, we want it too. But to really rightsize, you should resist the urge to meet other people’s standards. Retirement should help you make the most of your life, not anyone else’s. Before you make a purchase, especially a large one, ask yourself what’s motivating your decision. If it’s not going to make your life better, leave it on the shelf.
As you approach retirement, it’s important to make sure your lifestyle is tailored to fit the end of your working life. This concept, known as “rightsizing,” can make your savings last longer, which provides you with the freedom to enjoy your later years. Kathy Gottberg, author of “Rightsizing: A Smart Living 365 Guide to Reinventing Retirement,” defines the concept as “conscious choices for a better lifestyle that more closely fits your new needs in retirement.”
A CLIENT WHO KEEPS THE BEAT
Mike Grass of The Music Man
At The Elder Care Firm, our clients come from all walks of life. We’re fortunate enough to serve people who do some cool things for a living. One of those clients is Mike Grass, owner of Brighton’s The Music Man. Mike first picked up the guitar at age 7, but didn’t begin in earnest until he was 11. “A friend on the school bus told me we should start a band,” Mike remembers. “I figured I would need to learn how to play. That was the starting point for a career spent playing and teaching music.” After decades of touring, Mike opened up The Music Man, which has been helping musicians get the gear they need and learn how to play it for 25 years. Funnily enough, Chris took guitar lessons at The Music Man before he even met Mike. When Mike’s mother began suffering from dementia, he sought out an elder care attorney. Little did he know that it would end up being one of his store’s students. “I had heard Chris’s name around
town from other people,” Mike says, “so I contacted the firm.” As they sat down to discuss a plan, they quickly realized their shared connection. Mike was impressed with the care and consideration of The Elder Care Firm team. “Not only did Chris set my mother up, but the entire team was friendly,” Mike recalls. “They listened to my needs and developed a plan accordingly. Communication from every member of the team was excellent.” Mike was so happy with the attention he received that he recommended his girlfriend contact us to set up a trust, too. “Overall, they were great in every way,” Mike states. Chris’s children also take lessons at The Music Man. Ryan plays piano and Madison is learning violin. It’s fitting that Chris has been able to help Mike’s family, and Mike has been able to help his in return.
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When it comes to your inheritance, taking care of your loved ones in the most responsible way means avoiding court. Sending them to probate is like having your family inherit your dental work before they can inherit your assets. Probate is time consuming, costly, and downright miserable, and it should be avoided at all costs. With that in mind, we’ve provided the three best ways to prevent this painful process and make sure your inheritance goes exactly where it should. JOINT OWNERSHIP Married couples use this process to ensure that when you pass away, your spouse becomes the recipient of any assets. For example, when you open a joint checking account with your spouse, you will specify them as an owner on the account. When you pass, your spouse will automatically become sole owner of the account and will remove any deliberation as to where those funds should go. BENEFICIARY DESIGNATIONS In the case of life insurance or retirement accounts, a beneficiary is named. This gives you the freedom to pass on your holdings to whomever you specify. However, one downside to this is it does not limit what happens to that money after it is transferred to the beneficiary. It’s similar to handing your loved one a pillowcase of money and wishing them luck. 3 Surefire Ways to Prevent Probate Do You Know Where Your Inheritance Is Going?
TRUSTS There are many types of trusts, but the basic premise is that instead of handing over a pillowcase of cash, you’re passing on a suitcase with specific instructions. The money is then administered per the terms of the trust to the trustee(s). If you have deliberate intentions for your inheritance, you can detail exactly the who, what, when, where, and how of all your assets. There are few things less desirable than going to probate in Michigan, but fortunately, sending your loved ones down this road is completely avoidable. With proper guidance and thorough planning, you can make sure your loved ones are protected for their future. Otherwise, your loved ones could inherit a handful of problems rather than your decades of hard work and dedication.
Chris’ Paleo Corner:
PALEO BACON ZUCCHINI AND RED PEPPER FRITTATA
Recipe from paleonewbie.com
To help family and friends just like you, we depend on referrals.
1. Preheat oven to 375 F. 2. Cook bacon and set aside. 3. Dice onion and bell pepper. Grate zucchini and blot with paper towel to remove excess moisture. 4. In a medium bowl, whisk
7. Add shredded zucchini to mixing bowl with the eggs. Stir and pour into skillet. 8. Continue to cook on
• 8 ounces bacon, INGREDIENTS
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cooked and chopped
• 1 red bell
stovetop 1–2 minutes or until mixture begins to set around the edges.
pepper, diced • 1 medium zucchini, grated (peel on if desired) • 1/2 medium onion, diced • 6 eggs, whisked • 1/3 cup full-fat coconut milk • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning, dried • Salt and pepper to taste
Anthony Balavitch Brenda Wojtacha Rick Briggs
Julie Seitz Michelle Peterson
9. Transfer skillet to pre- heated 375 F oven. 10. Bake about 15 minutes or until eggs are cooked through. (For a slightly browned top, move skillet up to top rack and broil for 2–3 additional minutes.) 11. Transfer frittata to serving plate. Slice and serve.
together eggs, coconut milk, and seasonings.
5. In a 10-inch, oven-
Laura Robi Bill Albert David Stewar
safe skillet on medium heat, sauté onion in 2 tablespoons fat (we used bacon fat) for about 4 minutes. Add the red pepper and sauté for an additional minute.
John Thurman Bob Sabourin
6. Add cooked bacon to skillet.
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8550 Grand River Ave., Ste. 200 Brighton, MI 48116 888-390-4360 www.MichiganEstatePlanning.com
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INSIDE This Issue
New Year, New Goals PAGE 1
Are You Ready for Retirement? PAGE 2
Spotlight on Mike Grass PAGE 2 Say Sayonara to Probate PAGE 3
Paleo Bacon Zucchini and Red Pepper Frittata PAGE 3
Bleeding-Edge Tech for 2018 PAGE 4
NEW YEAR, NEW TECH!
3 of 2018’s Most Futuristic Gadgets
A ‘HYBRID REALITY ENVIRONMENT’ FROM SCIENCE FICTION
Along with a collection of short- lived resolutions, each new year brings a staggering array of
Composed of 72 LCD panels, a 20-speaker immersive surround sound system, and an optical motion tracking system powered by 10 separate cameras, Cave2 is half virtual reality, half insanely futuristic whiteboard. After donning a pair of 3-D glasses, users, namely scientists and engineers, can fully immerse themselves in whatever they want, whether it’s a visualization of data that describes our solar system or, as exhibited in a recent demonstration, a model of Chicago, complete with real-time crime data. Instead of mounting on the wall or sitting an ordinary vertical television stand, the new Bravia TV comes equipped with a stand that leans directly on the floor. There’s no visible stand or border. The processor and other essential components are all housed in its back unit. But what’s really interesting about this TV is the way it generates sound. Examining the unit, you’ll discover there’s not a single speaker to be found. Instead, Sony’s equipped the screen itself with four actuators that turn the entire screen into a sound-emitting device — a new technology called “Acoustic Surface.” A TV THAT GENERATES SOUND WITH ITS SCREEN
wild technology. Here are a few of the coolest new gadgets predicted to hit the scene in 2018. A MICROWAVE THAT DOUBLES AS A FLASH FRIDGE For a couple of years now, the Spanish-Korean company Frigondas has been developing a
microwave that, in addition to perfectly warming up your leftovers, comes equipped with the
ability to rapidly cool down foods. Not only can you use it to freeze fresh foods for later use, but you can toss a beer inside
and let it chill in just a couple of minutes.
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