Tips for Estate Planning

Here are five common estate planning mistakes that, unfortunately, people make too often. 

Mistake #1: Waiting too long

It’s human nature – people often don’t take action until they absolutely have to. However, the longer you wait, the more limited your options are. One consequence of waiting too long could be the loss of capacity. Once you lose capacity, you are unable to sign off on critical planning documents which can cause the courts to become involved in decision making, such as guardianship. Additionally, waiting too long to plan can result in increased care costs over time, as some planning options may no longer be available. 

Mistake #2: A Will with no Asset Protection

Many people assume that a Will prepared by a traditional estate planning lawyer guarantees that their home and their money is protected from the State and creditors. However, unless your estate plan specifically includes a strategy for asset protection, your assets remain vulnerable. By ensuring that you have an Asset Protection Estate Plan, you can preserve your legacy for the people who matter the most. 

Mistake #3: Lack of communication

In all likelihood, your family will be responsible for making decisions on your behalf if you are ever unable to speak for yourself. Many problems can be avoided if you sit down and have that tough conversation with your family about what you want if a crisis occurs. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Although this is an emotionally difficult subject, stress the importance of this conversation to everyone that is affected. Your care, and your estate, might be handled in a manner that you disagree with if you fail to discuss your wishes with your family.

Mistake #4: Not taking advantage of resources

Educating yourself about all of the available resources and government benefits you may be qualified to receive is very important. Understanding these benefits is not an easy task, so seek the help of an experienced Elder Law attorney who is familiar with the complex rules and regulations.

Mistake #5: Spending down money for Medicaid

Many people spend all their money in order to qualify for Medicaid benefits. For a couple, that’s just plain wrong, and not the law. Did you know that you can keep substantial assets and still qualify for Medicaid? You may be able to qualify for Medicaid if you own your home and even if you have money in the bank.

Sorting out your estate can be complicated but planning for the future now will avoid a lot of heartache and avoidable costs in the future.

If you missed first five Estate Planning mistakes article, you can find it here: bit.ly/368hVfa. 

City to Exceed Housing Bond Goals with New Projects

Mayor Wheeler and the Portland Housing Bureau unveiled nine new Bond projects today, coupled with the announcement that the number of new units moving into development now meet, and in some cases exceed, all of the goals set forth under Portland’s Housing Bond.

In 2016, voters approved the bond measure dedicating $258.4 million to create thirteen hundred units of permanently affordable housing. The nine projects announced today join two other projects that are already open and one currently in development for a total of 1,424 units of bond-funded housing complete or in progress across the city – exceeding the overall goal for the funding by more than one hundred units.

With the addition of these projects to the pipeline, the City is set to meet or exceed its commitments to ensure that six hundred and fifty of the units would provide family-size housing, six hundred would be affordable to households below thirty percent of Area Median Income (AMI), and three hundred would provide Permanent Supportive Housing (PSH) for chronically homeless individuals and those with disabilities.

The new projects will add approximately 930 units of affordable housing, including 443 at 30% AMI, 329 units of family-size housing, and 254 units of PSH.

Currently, approximately $45 million from the original $258.4 million remains unallocated for future investment.

Portland Prepares for the Future

The City That Works: Preparing Portland for the Future will be presented Tuesday, November 12, by the League of Women Voters of Portland at The Multnomah County Board Room, 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd. 

A panel discussion about their two-year study of Portland’s City government, the intent of the study was to provide meaningful direction on how the city government can be improved to bring about the best possible outcomes for the people of Portland. 

The whole study may be read on the League’s website, bit.ly/2NkxlnQ

The study focuses on:

• Strengths and weaknesses of the current City of Portland government

• Options for form, function, roles and responsibilities of city government

• Standards that should be applied to determine a government’s effectiveness in serving its constituents

This panel discussion will explore and expand on the study’s results. The speakers are:

• Mike Gleason, a city manager in multiple communities in Washington, California and Oregon. He served for eighteen years as Eugene’s City Manager.

• Chris Tobkin served as Executive Director of City Club for seven years and worked for Bud Clark during his two terms as Portland Mayor

  Julia DeGraw has been an environmental activist and community organizer, is part of Portland Forward and in 2018 was a candidate for Portland City Commissioner

• Betsy Pratt was the chair of the League of Women Voters of Portland city government study committee. She has served previously as President of the League of Women Voters of Portland and as Education Fund Chair of the League of Women Voters of Oregon.

The League of Women Voters Civic Education programs are free and open to the public.  Programs are designed to inform our community about current issues. 

Parking is available on the street. The Multnomah County Board Room at 501 SE Hawthorne Blvd. is easily accessed by public transportation. 

Recycling Tips for November 

By Bonita Davis, Master Recycler and SE Resident

The last few pieces of Halloween candy sit on bottom of the bowl by the front door as I head out to the store. Greeting me are  store displays of Thanksgiving and Christmas merchandise that come with a not-so-subtle alert that the holiday season is here and the clock is ticking.   

For me, this past year has been all about downsizing my living space, clearing out shelves and cupboards and making sure I recycle right. 

Navigating the season of parties, gift giving and special events require strategy. This year, my goal is to fully enjoy the holidays without  ‘restuffing’ my house or anyone else’s.

Time to check in and review my convictions about waste prevention. I find podcasts, books, articles and websites useful to help me stay focused and on track. This year, inspiration came from recycling expert Betty Shelly’s reduceyourwasteproject.com.  

Compelling facts about consumer habits motivated me to follow up on her references. One was Sarah Lazarovic’s Buyerarchy of Needs (longliveirony.com) that gives a nod to Maslow’s Heirarchy of Needs as it organizes how we consume. 

Lazarovic’s boldly colored pyramid guides us to first, use what we have, followed by borrow, swap, thrift, and make, before we buy. In other words, reminders that reducing and reusing can make big impacts in waste reduction. 

For me, this means some simple actions, such as pulling out my holiday supplies now and taking stock of what I already have; what might be needed in the way of home decorations, service wear, wrapping supplies, etc.  

Secondly it means making lists. The number one list is my budget, followed by gift and card lists. 

Now is a great time to check in with family and friends about how they want to celebrate the holidays; who wants to exchange cards or gifts or will be wanting to gather during the holidays for festivities. Time to replace assumptions with solid information.

Who knows, maybe your loved ones would like to go to a movie or play with you later on, or share a special dinner or swap something homemade!

Simple actions such as taking along reusable shopping bags for holiday shopping, bringing a travel mug or taking a break for a latte can make a major impact.  Shopping for gifts or holiday parties with a list can help avoid impulse spending and excesses.  

GoodGuide.com site or app can help make purchasing choices that include social, environmental and safety concerns.

Announce that your holiday party is going even greener this year with no one-time use disposables (paper plates, tableclothes, cups or plasticware).  When guests ask what they can bring to a gathering, why not ask to borrow a stack of plates or extra set of glasses or unbreakable tumblers for the kids? 

Consider what you could offer to others, like that seldom used roasting pan or punch bowl.  Saving up yogurt and cheese containers with lids for guests to take home leftover food gives the containers a second use before they are recycled and helps prevent food waste. 

For the tree this year, what about a potted shrub to transplant later, or gathered branches and sprigs, a cut tree to be mulched at youth fundraiser events after the holidays? What about considering one of those retro metal trees that can be used for years to come?   

Bulk bins will be my choice for holiday baking projects, and gift wrap, tissue, bows, ribbons, decorative tins and mailing materials are reused. Last year’s cards were already crafted into this year’s gift tags. 

If an occasion calls for a white elephant gift, why not go with something people will enjoy: a box of teas, bag of coffee or box of chocolates, rather than something bound for a trash can? 

When it is time to buy, we have terrific local shops right here in SE neighborhoods that might have that perfect gift. 

The money I save by using lists, buying bulk, reusing what I have, borrowing and buying second hand can go to supporting local businesses and artisans as I find that perfect something that will delight my friends.  

Along with your home, I hope your holiday preparations can also be unstuffed, leaving you time to enjoy the season!

Build Small, Live Large Summit 2019

In response to a national demand for greater diversity in housing options, government leaders, activists, and policymakers will convene the two-day Build Small Live Large Summit in Portland, November 8-9. The mission of the Summit, presented by the Build Small Coalition, is to discuss ways to enable and encourage the development of smaller homes in cities across the US, while addressing barriers to affordable, livable housing for all members of the community. 

Read more online at bit.ly/2PpRADo.

Living with Neighborhood Coyotes

We’ve had a lot of coyote sightings lately and the biggest concern is that coyotes are getting too close, as in 10-15 feet of dog walkers. 

Apparently, there is very little anyone can do to remove coyotes from neighborhoods, but according to Portland Audubon Society, there are precautions that will reduce their habituation to humans. 

If we all work together, we can live peacefully with neighborhood coyotes. 

The experts’ advice: 

• Do not feed coyotes, this reduces their fear of humans. According to Audubon, only in cases of coyotes receiving human handouts have coyotes become a danger 

• When you encounter a coyote that is getting a bit too close, shout, wave your arms and rattle something (they recommend a sealed coffee can with coins or rocks in it) to let it know not to get too close. 

Find the link on the Audubon page at bit.ly/2NgySvs for more detailed information. There is a link on the page where you can report coyote sightings as a part of a PSU research project. 

Fiction Workshop II with Joanna Rose – A critique workshop for writers of all levels designed to lead you deeper into the experience of your story, true or imagined. Any story depends on its sentences, and this workshop is built on defining what the job of its sentences is, and how they are doing their work. Look into voice and language in the terms of the stories at hand, November 2-December 7, 9 am-11 am at the Attic Institute of Arts and Letters, 4232 SE Hawthorne Blvd. To register: 503.236.0615 or info@atticinstitute.com. 

Do your own craft festival – The annual Holiday Do Your Own Craft Festival takes place December 8 at Tabor Heights Methodist Church, 6161 SE Stark St. Start with a chili lunch upstairs at 12:30 pm and head downstairs to make holiday crafts for all ages, including candles, swags, tree ornaments, and more. All materials are provided and experienced craft teachers available to assist, free of charge. For more information contact church@taborheightschurch.org.

Da Vinci Arts Middle School Arts Fair – Student art and over one hundred booths of professional artist and craft wares will be available for purchase at the annual fundraiser. There will be a Krampus photo booth, live theater, live music, food, drinks, and fun for the family. Saturday, December 7, 10 am-5 pm at Da Vinci Arts Middle School, 2508 NE Everett St. 503.916.5356 Event details: facebook.com/davinciartsfair

Styrofoam Recycling Drive – Girl Scout Troop 12811 will hold a styrofoam recycling drive in front of Glencoe Elementary School, 825 SE 51st Ave., Saturday, November 16, 10 am-12 pm (or earlier if the truck fills up). They accept clean block (hard) styrofoam ONLY (no packing peanuts or food packaging). Cost: $1 for a grocery bag full and $5 for a car load. The fee will be applied to the cost of the troop’s truck rental and gas with anything beyond expense coverage being donated to a non-profit group working to protect the environment.

Local author seeks photos for forthcoming Hawthorne book – Local author Rhys Scholes is seeking historic photographs of life on Hawthorne to include in his forthcoming book, Portland’s Hawthorne Boulevard. Images of business openings, celebrations, events and everyday life are all needed by the end of January. Contact Rhys Scholes Rhys@oregonwatchwords.com, 503.341.6514.

Find the perfect tree for your yard – A free tree selection workshop will be presented by Portland Parks Urban Forestry, Laurelhurst Tree Team and Friends of Trees. Tree experts will be available to help select the perfect tree for your yard. Saturday, November 9, 12-1:30 pm at the Hollywood Library, 4040 NE Tillamook St.

Portland Sings! community sing-along – A casual, fun group-singing opportunity for anyone wanting more singing in their life. Sunday, November 17, 2-4 pm, at Artichoke Music, 2007 SE Powell Blvd. Sliding scale $8 – $15. See PortlandSings.com

Second Annual Vegan Maker and Craft Fair – See the talent of thirty+ local vegan makers and crafters. Quality vegan gifts including prints, art, salves and lotions, accessories, jewelry, food and more. Sunday, November 24, 2-6 pm, TaborSpace, 5441 SE Belmont St. More info: tryveganpdx.org or info@tryveganpdx.com

Alzheimer’s and Dementia Workshop – The free workshop covers the kinds of Dementia and Alzheimer’s, community resources and tips for working and living with people with dementia. Rev. Marsha Dempsey, a recently retired hospice chaplain with expertise in this area, will present and handouts will be available. Tuesday, November 12, 7 pm, Colonial Heights Presbyterian, 2828 SE Stephens Road. Pre-registration is strongly suggested. Contact CLT@mccportland.com 503.281.8868.

Agape Village Project – In the spirit of community and service, Space Down Under, Sustainable Northwest Wood (SNW) and designers from Portland Community College (PCC) have come together to repurpose an unused office building for the benefit of Agape Village residents. Founder and owner of Space Down Under, Michael Musumeci said, “Everyone should have a safe place to sleep and the dignity/respect that comes with a home, however modest. Life and circumstance can often deal a rough hand and it is everyone’s responsibility to care for and aid those who have the least.”

Fall Fiber Workshop – Learn to make macrame plant hangers with Little Feral’s Kaycie Condron at Ruby Press ::: letterpress + mercantile. Students learn all the basic knots and gain an understanding of the practice and process while making functional pieces. Thursday, November 21, 6-8 pm, 2710 SE 50th Avenue. Class includes all supplies. Contact Ruby Press 503.709.0069 or ruby@rubypress.com

OPENING RECEPTION at Architectural Heritage Center – Two exhibits are opening at the Architectural Heritage Center November 1: 150 Years of Transcontinental Railroading and A Changing Landscape and the Forgotten City of East Portland. A joint reception for the exhibits will be on Thursday, November 21, 701 SE Grand Ave, 5-7 pm with drinks and snacks. For information, contact 503.231.7264 online at visitAHC.org

The Addams Family, a musical – Franklin High School Theater presents the macabre Addams Family. When outsiders come to dinner, Gomez, Morticia, Wednesday, Pugsley, Uncle Fester, Grandmama and Lurch lurch headlong into a night that will change the family forever. The show is at Franklin High School, 5405 SE Woodward St. November 8, 9, 14, 15, 16 at 7 pm and November 10, 2 pm. Tickets available on Eventbrite or onsite the night of the show, cost $6-$12.