M arch is an exciting month around here. First, March Madness is on! My brother, my two boys and I have developed something of a tradition over the last seven years — we travel out to the 2020 NCAA Final Four at the end of March.
cottage up north or even out of state, you want to make sure that when you do close on the new property, all the details are incorporated into your
My brother is in Ohio, and we all fly in to meet at the Final Four destination. This year, it’s in Atlanta, Georgia, at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which is also the home of the Atlanta Falcons and where Super Bowl LIII was hosted in 2019. Past destinations for the Final Four included Minneapolis, San Antonio, and Phoenix.
estate plan. That way, there is no confusion on what needs to be done after you pass away. A cottage, cabin or vacation home might stay in the family or it might be sold. It’s up to the terms you set today.
The same idea applies to anyone who already owns a second property, like a cabin. You may have inherited the property, or it may have been in the family for four or five generations. And if you want to make sure the property stays that way, make sure it’s locked down in your estate plan. Passwords are another thing you should organize. We’ve been seeing a lot of families lose digital photographs and videos — as well as access to online bank accounts — after a loved one dies because they can’t find passwords.
Hopefully, we’ll get a Michigan team in the Final Four mix this year. Regardless, we always have a lot of fun. It’s a good long weekend, from Friday to Monday, for bonding and plenty of activities. During the long weekend, we might go to a concert or try out the various activities the NCAA has set up for attendees. I’m really looking forward to it.
“Whilemany of us don’t get the most enjoyment out of spring- cleaning, it is important.”
If someone becomes incapacitated or passes away, it’s not uncommon for families to scramble to find ways to get access to online photos or accounts. Everything, from social media to banking, can be locked behind a password and username. If these things aren’t accessible or written down, the accounts can be lost or very difficult to access. Use this time to get your usernames and passwords in order. You can go old-fashioned with it and write them all down in a dedicated notebook. If you do write them down on paper, however, be sure to secure the passwords with the rest of your important documents, like in a locked file cabinet or a fire-proof safe, and make sure your heirs know where to find them. Half of organizing is actually knowing where you put your stuff!
Closer to home, I’m also looking forward to spring. I’m excited for more sunshine and more color. It’s also the perfect time to organize and do a little cleaning. While many of us don’t get the most enjoyment out of spring-cleaning, it is important. It’s also very important from a financial and estate planning standpoint. Taking a look at your beneficiaries and your financial accounts is always a good idea around this time of year. Is everything up to date and accurate?
Another thing to look at is second homes or properties. If you’re in the market for a cabin or
MichiganEstatePlans.com • 888.487.6150
Feel Like You Can’t Do DIY Projects Anymore? Check Out These 3 Power Tools let the size fool you: This drill can deliver 800 pounds of maximum torque, making it an ideal drill for your heavy-duty projects.
As you age, it can be harder to tackle the home projects you once did without a second thought. That said,
Dremel 7300-N/5 4.8V MiniMite Cordless Rotary Tool
just because they appear harder doesn’t mean they’re impossible to do. And, luckily, with age comes experience; you know how to get a job done faster and more efficiently than any 20-year-old would — you just need the tools to do it right. Here are three of the best power tools you can use to turn your home project dreams into reality.
Getting the amount of precision needed for smaller projects like engraving, polishing, and finish work with older rotary tools is near impossible. Fortunately, this handy power tool is perfect for polishing, cutting small-scale copper piping, engraving, or even spot-grinding a nasty weld. It also weighs only 1.1 pounds, so it’s perfect for intricate engravings or polishing your favorite set of wheels.
BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX 5-1/2-Inch Circular Saw
Makita DT01W 12V Max Lithium-Ion Cordless Impact Driver Drill
For bigger DIY projects, it might not be realistic for you to work with the heavy, corded, and bulky saws that you used to use. When it comes to home renovations or those bigger DIY projects, there is nothing better than this BLACK+DECKER saw. With a tool-free depth of cut and easy-to-use bevel, it’s so much easier to get the type of cut you need. At 6.1 pounds, it’s painless to manage and less risky when you need to stretch to get a longer cut.
Previous drill models were built out of hard plastic and steel, which made them heavy, hard to maneuver, and difficult to grip. However, Makita drills are designed with soft grip handles, making them easier to use if you have arthritis or other joint conditions. In addition, they weigh only 2 pounds, so they’re safe and easy to handle in the tightest of spaces. That said, don’t
Dispelling Two Common Money Myths 1. It’s best for one member of the household to manage the finances. It’s not uncommon for one person in a household to be the one who pays the bills and manages all the accounts. Some people don’t necessarily enjoy being involved in the finances, so by default, one person shoulders the responsibility. While this arrangement may work for a while, it can create long-term problems. For instance, should the person in charge of the finances become ill, incapacitated, or die, it leaves the other partner or family members in a challenging position. They must put all the pieces of the financial puzzle together, and there is no guarantee it will ever be completed. This is why communication about finances between spouses and family members is so important. Even if one person handles the finances, there should always be discussions about them. Both spouses, for instance, should be fully aware of all the bills they are responsible for and the accounts they have open in their name, from checking to retirement accounts.
2. You need to worry about estate taxes. The media often portrays estate taxes as something we all
need to worry about, and we should be prepared to set up a trust so we can
better navigate these taxes. For some people, estate taxes are something they need to think about and plan for, but this isn’t the case for the vast majority of Americans. In 2020 there is a federal exclusion limit of $11.58 million. For an estate exceeding that, say, valued at $14 million, the federal estate tax would only be owed on $2.42 million of that estate. However, if the estate is valued at less than $11.58 million, the heir or heirs would not have to worry about the federal estate tax. While many states have their own estate or inheritance tax on top of the federal tax, Michigan is a state that has neither. Of course, regardless of the value of your estate, you should have an estate plan in place, including a patient advocate designation and power of attorney. Spell out your health care wishes and make sure all of your estate documents are organized and up to date. Clear communication is key to any successful estate plan. And if the estate tax threshold is decreased due to a change in law or political administrations, we promise to let you know how to plan for it.
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A Look Back in Time WHAT HAPPENED IN MARCH 1965? D o you remember March 1965? For some people, it’s a distant memory. For those born after 1965, it’s a month and year in history. Here are three major events that took place in March, 55 years ago. On March 2, 1965 , “The Sound of Music” was released in theaters. It starred Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer and would go on to win five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director. The movie had a theatrical release that lasted 4 1/2 years , and it was the highest-grossing movie of 1965. By 1966, it was the highest-grossing movie of all time. In fact, it was the first movie in history to gross more than $100 million at the box office. “The Sound of Music” would remain the highest-grossing movie until 1972, when it was overtaken by Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather.” On March 23, 1965 , the U.S. launched Gemini 3, which was the county’s first crewed space mission. Gemini 3 was manned by astronauts Gus Grissom and John Young. The mission featured the first maneuverable spacecraft in history, which was the entire focus on the mission. Gemini 3 served as a test bed for a number of new technologies. When the astronauts successfully fired thrusters to change their orbit, they officially paved the way for the future of space travel. On March 25, 1965 , Martin Luther King Jr. joined with more than 25,000 civil rights activists in Montgomery, Alabama. The event marked the end of a four-day and 54-mile-long march from Selma, Alabama. Once he got to Montgomery, King gave his speech entitled “How Long, Not Long.” It was one of three marches held in 1965 along that route, and those marches helped pave the way for the Voting Rights Act, which was a major achievement in the civil rights movement. The Voting Rights Act was signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson in August 1965, and it prohibited racial discrimination in voting.
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Helpful Resources • Is your estate plan up to date? Ask us about our FREE estate planning checkup ... Call our office or email Julie@mtolaw.com.
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great attorney outside the field of estate planning, elder law, and probate. Instead of taking your chances on Google or the phone book, let us put you in touch with an experienced attorney who can help you. Our clients often call us in need of an attorney who focuses on family law, personal injury, auto accidents, elder and nursing home abuse, workers’ comp, Social Security disability, and many other areas. To get the best results, you need an experienced attorney to help. If you want a referral, call our office or email Julie@mtolaw.com. We are glad to help!
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What’s Inside? 1
March Madness and Getting Ready for Spring
2 3 4
Best Power Tools for Older Folks
Dispelling 2 Common Money Myths
This Month in 1965
Would You Like Some Pi?
The Sweetest Ways to Celebrate Pi Day
Break out your calculators and grab your aprons because it’s almost Pi Day! This holiday has gained popularity among mathematicians and bakers alike — two groups that rarely overlap. Pi Day is March 14, which, when written numerically, is 3/14, the first three digits of the mathematical constant pi. Pi is special because it’s used to calculate the circumference of a circle. This might not sound like a big deal, but pi is used in engineering, construction, GPS, motors, power generation, and even television! If we hadn’t calculated pi, none of these achievements would be possible. Pi is pretty important, and it’s definitely worth celebrating! Here are two ways you can get in on the fun. Learn to Recite Pi Pi has fascinated mathematicians for centuries because it’s an irrational number, meaning the digits go on forever. If you want to try your hand at memorizing some of the numbers, here are the first 50 decimal
digits of pi (with spaces, so they’re easier to remember!).
3.14159 26535 89793 23846 26433 83279 50288 41971 69399 37510
To make things simple, we often round pi up to 3.14, but many people have challenged themselves to memorize and recite as many digits as possible. In the Guinness Book of World Records, the record is currently held by Rajveer Meena, who recited pi to the 70,000th digit on March 21, 2015. And he did it all while blindfolded! Eat Some Pie Another popular way to enjoy Pi Day is to bake and eat pie. This dessert is perfect because it’s both a homophone (same pronunciation as “pi” but with a different spelling and meaning) and a circle. Challenge your friends to a pie-baking contest, or buy your favorite pie from the store and have a pie- eating contest. And, while this may be a controversial stance, we believe pizza pie deserves a place in Pi Day celebrations, too.
Here’s to Pi Day: the tastiest, nerdiest holiday of the year!
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