08-17-2017 Columns

How Can You Leave the Legacy You Desire?

You may not see it in the greeting card section of your local drugstore, but August is “What Will Be Your Legacy Month.” So it’s a good time to think about the type of legacy you’d like to leave.

Of course, “legacy” can mean many things. In the broadest sense, your legacy is how you will be remembered by your loved ones, friends and the communities to which you belong. On a practical level, establishing your legacy means providing your family and the charitable organizations you support with the resources you’d like them to have.

And that means you may need to take the following actions: create your plans, communicate your wishes and review and update your documents.

Let’s take a quick look at all these steps:

Create your plans. You will want to work with your legal professional, and possibly your tax and financial professionals, too, to draft the plans needed to fulfill your legacy wishes. These plans may include drafting a will, living trust, health care directive, power of attorney and other documents. Ideally, you want these plans to do more than just convey where you want your money to go – you want to impart, to the next generation, a sense of the effort that went into building the wealth they receive. Without such an appreciation, your heirs may be less than rigorous in retaining the tangible legacies you’ve left them.

Communicate your wishes. It’s important to communicate your legacy-related wishes to your family members as early as possible. By doing so, you can hopefully avoid unpleasant surprises and hurt feelings when it’s time for your estate to be settled – and you’ll also let people know what tasks, if any, they need to perform. For example, if you’re choosing a family member to be the executor of your estate, or if you’re giving someone power of attorney over your financial or health-related matters, they should be prepared.

Update your documents. During your life, you may well experience any number of changes – new marriage, new children, opening a family business, and so on. You need to make sure your legal documents and financial accounts reflect these changes. For example, if you’ve remarried, you may want to change the beneficiary designations on your IRA, 401(k) and other retirement accounts – if left untouched, these designations may even supersede the instructions left in your will. And the directions in life chosen by your grown children may also dictate changes in your will or living trust. In any case, it’s a good idea to review all your legacy-related documents periodically, and update them as needed.

In addition to taking the above steps, you also need to protect the financial resources that go into your legacy. So, when you retire and begin taking funds from your IRA, 401(k) and other retirement accounts, make sure your withdrawal rate is sufficient for your living expenses, but not so high that it eventually jeopardizes the amounts you planned to leave to your family or to your preferred charities. A financial professional can help you determine the withdrawal rate appropriate for your situation.

With careful planning, and by making the right moves, you can create the type of legacy you desire – one that can benefit your loved ones far into the future.

This article was written by Edward Jones for use by your local Edward Jones Financial Advisor.

Back to School Wellness Event

Summer is drawing to a close, which means that parents are getting their kids ready to head back to school. Beyond buying school supplies and new outfits, parents should make sure their kids are healthy and ready to learn when getting back to the classroom.

The Berrien County Health Department will host a “Back to School Bash” on Tuesday, August 22 from 9 a.m. – 6 p.m. at their office at 2149 E. Napier in Benton Harbor to help parents get their kids ready for a healthy school year. The Health Department will provide free hearing and vision screenings, immunizations required for school entry, healthy snacks and giveaways for kids of all ages, as well as information about WIC, parenting education, and many other programs and services that can benefit families in Berrien County. Local law enforcement, fire departments, Michigan Child ID, the Berrien County Great Start Collaborative and other agencies will also be present at this event.

“We know that the back to school season is a busy time for everyone, but the Berrien County Health Department is committed to helping make your life easier, happier and healthier,” said Clinical and Community Health Services Manager, Peggy Hamel.

In order to help keep children healthy and make sure they are ready to learn, Michigan state law requires that children receive certain immunizations before entering school. Additionally, children entering preschool and kindergarten are required to have their hearing and vision screened. Parents can find more information about these school requirements and the Back to School Bash at www.bchdmi.org or by calling 269-926-7121.

Manufacturing and CTE are critical to Michigan’s future

It is hard to overstate the importance of manufacturing to Michigan.

It employs over 608,500 residents, and manufacturers in Michigan account for nearly 20 percent of the state’s gross domestic product — the sixth highest in the nation.

We have made tremendous strides in improving our state and making it more attractive to job creators. As a result, state unemployment dropped to 3.8 percent in July — the lowest it has been since August 2000.

Manufacturing in Michigan led the way — adding more than 175,000 jobs in eight years and leading the nation for manufacturing jobs created since December 2010.

Although the industry is thriving, manufacturers are struggling to find workers with the technical skills needed for available jobs.

It has been estimated that 2 million needed manufacturing jobs over the next decade will go unfilled.

This summer, I toured Tri-County Manufacturing Council in St. Joseph, Forest River Manufacturing in White Pigeon, and TH Plastics in Mendon. They all urged increased career and technical education (CTE) to meet the growing need for skilled workers.

I introduced Senate Bill 344 to allow a student to get a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) certification as an incentive for taking additional STEM courses and to give them a competitive advantage in landing a well-paying job.

I also sponsored SB 343 to require schools to provide students with the most recent analysis of in-demand occupations in their region.

Michigan manufacturing is only as strong as our workforce — making it critical that we give students greater information and opportunities to have successful careers.

As always, I look forward to hearing your comments and feedback on the important issues facing Michigan. You can contact me at 517-373-6960.

Working together to end the opioid epidemic

Opioid addiction and abuse is a silent epidemic. Each day, it takes the lives of our mothers, our sons, our friends, our neighbors. Last week, I was able to sit down with Cass County Sheriff Rick Behnke and three local police chiefs to discuss the important work they are doing to curb the opioid epidemic here in Southwest Michigan.

Opioid addiction has hit our community hard. In response, I have worked to get a slew of bills signed into law to address this epidemic. These pieces of legislation, such as my 21st Century Cures Act and the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, provide an increase of $781 million for prevention, education, and treatment of opioid abuse. They also deliver community grants for treatment and prevention, helps give better guidance to doctors about prescribing opioids, and supports law enforcement efforts in Southwest Michigan and across the country.

There is still much work to be done, and public servants like Sheriff Behnke are working hard on the front lines to fight the illegal sale and trade of these drugs to help fight abuse and addiction to keep our communities safe. I will continue to work in bipartisan manner, and with our community leaders, to help support Southwest Michigan as we all battle this silent epidemic together.

To learn more about this and other important legislative issues, please visit my website: upton.house.gov or call my offices in Kalamazoo (269-385-0039), St. Joseph/Benton Harbor (269-982-1986), or Washington, D.C. (202-225-3761).

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