I have worked with a lot of clients over the last 5+ years, and there have been many times when I wished that I could get several experts/advisors together to answer my peoples’ questions all at once. Well, that is happening next week! We will be having an expert panel getting together on March 27th from 6:00 to 8:00 at the Embassy Suites in Norman, OK. If you or someone you know might be interested in learning about the home buying process this would be a great opportunity to clear some things up, no obligations. If you have more questions just contact me!
Making your largest investment in life can be frightening, and all with so many experts with different great information rarely in the same place for buyers we decided that it was a good idea to give people an opportunity to have these experts in the same place at the same time. Space will be limited, so make sure that you sign up today!
Event Timing: Wednesday, March 27th, 2019, 6:00-8:00 P.M.
Event Address: Embassy Suites Convention Center in Norman, OK
What Happens to You and Your Stuff if You Don’t Make It Back from Spring Break?
By Claire Carter Bailey of the Law Offices of Bailey & Poarch
Morbid? Maybe, but Benjamin Franklin was right, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” Yes, you too will die. And most likely, before then, you’ll be incapacitated for some period of time.
So, who will make your medical decisions? What factors will impact that person emotionally, financially, and relationally during that time? Who will live in your house? Who will pay the bills? What will happen to your family? Does anyone know the location of the courthouse? How much is all this going to cost?
What you think will happen:
You may have considered these questions and have a plan in mind. However, absent proper legal documents, your wishes may not come to fruition. A common misconception is that your property will pass automatically to your loved ones or that they will be able act on your behalf.
What will actually happen:
If you haven’t considered these and other issues in awhile, someone else has on your behalf—the Oklahoma legislature. And with the help of a judge, many months, and thousands of dollars, all these decisions will be made without your consultation.
Not what you had mind? Yeah, me either.
Now that we’ve gotten the bad news out of the way and before you panic, imagine that instead of worrying about it or passing your problems on to your loved ones and your decisions on to someone you’ve never met, you have an instruction manual, often called an estate plan, with everything needed to handle your legal and personal affairs. One of the best gifts you can give your loved ones during an already difficult time is the space to grieve free from difficult decisions, fights, and a costly drawn out process. By preparing an estate plan, you protect your health, home, assets, and family.
The tools in the toolbox:
An estate plan is nothing more than a collection of documents that address the specific medical and financial issues of the person for whom they are prepared. It is a way to opt out of Uncle Sam’s one-size-fits-all approach.
Determining which documents belong in each estate plan and what those documents say is like selecting and using the correct tools and materials to build a house. A house must be built with the occupants in mind. A ruler is sufficient to build a dollhouse but is too small to build a
doghouse; a handsaw works for a birdhouse but is inadequate to build a house for people. (Although I recommend saving the hassle of building your own house and calling your boy Grady!)
Estate planning is not a one-size-fits-all process. Some estate planning tools are universal like durable powers of attorney which give others the authority to act on your behalf in the event you are unable to handle your own affairs, wills which set out your wishes for the court to direct absent a fully funded trust, and payable on death designations which transfer funds in your bank accounts. Other tools, like specialty trusts, are used in cases with unique needs such as large estates with generation skipping gifts or special needs children who rely on government aid.
The swiss army knife of estate planning:
The revocable living trust is a basic trust that transcends death and has complex features that address both financial and medical issues. It can be changed or revoked, hold assets, direct that funds be dispersed to a beneficiary on a specified schedule, allow for a trustee to step in during times of incapacity, save money through avoiding a guardianship and probate, protect your privacy by preventing your affairs from being published in public online records, and so much more.
There was a day in which trusts were primarily used as tax avoidance tools for the wealthy. But trusts are no longer only for the rich and famous. In fact, for most people, they are a means of saving money.
Setting up an estate plan is a phone call away:
Determining your specific needs and seeing around the corner to what you’ll need in the future requires more than a google search. We have an estate planning toolbox and know how to use each tool. Let us explain your options and provide a custom instruction manual for your loved ones with everything they will need to address the legal and logistical issues to your specifications.
With a large number of people expecting an economic downturn sometime in the next year it’s important that we keep an eye on global markets. Places like Oklahoma won’t be affect as severely when crashes happen, but we will be affected. There are people who would disagree with Mr. Rattner, but I tend to agree with him, and I think it’s worth sharing this information to my clients/friends. Rattner was the Car Czar during the auto-bailout, and he’s been in the trenches. I happen to appreciate him a little extra due to his focus on trimming the debt – he’s very involved with the group Fix The Debt, and if you are interested in geo/national economics that is one corner of the ring that would be worth keeping an eye on. I hope you get something out of this article.
On MSNBC’s Morning Joe today, Steven Rattner presented charts showing the failure of Trump’s tariffs to shrink the trade deficit with China while at the same time inflicting substantial pain on American farmers and other targeted sectors.
President Trump is pushing hard for a trade deal with China and it’s not hard to see why: his trade war is not going well. Last week, the government reported that the United States’ trade deficit (in goods) hit a record $891 billion last year, as imports grew faster than exports.
To date, the tariffs that Mr. Trump has imposed on imports from China have had no significant impact. Since Mr. Trump began imposing his tariffs, imports from China have risen by $19 billion to a record $540 billion as Americans kept purchasing cellphones, computers, clothing and the many other items that China makes better and cheaper than we do (or used to do). All told, imports from China amount to 22% of what comes into the United States from foreign countries each year.
With imports rising and American exports to China falling, our trade deficit (in goods) with China rose last year to $419 billion, 24% above where it was just a year earlier.
Contrary to what Mr. Trump says, his tariffs are not paid by China; they are paid by American companies and consumers in the form of higher prices.
Part of the rising trade deficit results from retaliatory tariffs that China has imposed on exports from the United States. Indeed, Chinese exports from the United States declined 7.4% last year. China has been extremely clever about targeting its own tariffs to items that are disproportionately exported from “red states” that Mr. Trump carried in 2016. Texas faces tariffs on its exports of propane, sorghum and cotton. For Michigan, Alabama and South Carolina, the issue is autos. (Smaller retaliatory tariffs have been imposed by Mexico, Canada and the European Union).
China has also taken aim at American exports of soybeans; before it imposed a 25% tariff on imports from us, China purchased about one-third of our entire soybean crop. As this chart shows, soybean prices collapsed last spring as rumors of the Chinese action began to circulate and the country began to dramatically scale back its purchases. Perhaps not surprisingly, Mr. Trump won eight of the 10 states that are the biggest producers of soybeans. Another way to look at it: soybean-producing counties went for Mr. Trump by a margin of more than 12 percentage points.
While soybean prices have recovered somewhat from their lows, even if China resumes its purchases, it may be a good while before prices fully recover; soybean stockpiles in the United States are currently about twice their historic average.
For many years Norman has been needing and working towards a plan to better manage stormwater runoff. This is not something that people talk about a lot in comparison to other items with a similar price tag, but this is a big deal. On April 2nd Norman is going to take a vote on how we move forward, so it’s important that you learn something about this before it feels like a surprise. Our citizens will start paying a new utility fee to help manage the issues related to stormwater, so before you get too upset about that you might want to look into how this is all going to work.
*For more information visit the Vision For Norman website by clicking here.
The proposed $72 million transportation bond leverages City and federal funds to undertake 19 projects for a total investment of about $139 million in Norman’s transportation infrastructure. If approved, this proposition would provide funding for the City to address issues with the existing transportation infrastructure, including, but not limited to, construction of a new Traffic Management Center, widening and reconstruction of roads, installation of new traffic signals, improvements to stormwater drainage systems, and the addition of sidewalks and multi-modal paths.
The proposed $60 million stormwater bond would fund 33 stormwater infrastructure projects with the aim of reducing flooding in Norman and replacing aging, undersized drainage structures. These projects were selected from a list of 60 projects identified in the City’s 2009 Storm Water Master Plan as critical to addressing flooding and water pollution issues in Norman. If approved, this would be the first stormwater bond in the City of Norman and would provide funding for large infrastructure project needs where state and federal funding is not currently available.
If approved, this stormwater utility would provide approximately $4.2 million a year combined with $3.2 million from the General Fund to fund critical stormwater maintenance needs including, but not limited to, increased infrastructure maintenance crews, Stormwater Compliance Inspectors, a Neighborhood Assistance Program, and necessary equipment such as street sweepers and a camera truck to inventory the state of stormwater infrastructure. This utility would be established in an enterprise fund, which is a dedicated source of funding for stormwater services only.
A lot of people scroll right by when they hear they see links about legislation, but if you or someone you care about is thinking about buying a house this could be a big deal! A huge part of my motivation for being a Realtor is helping people make a plan that will change their life in the long term, well this is a little slice of good new. I happen to believe in paying taxes, but incentivizing this process for people is a good idea, in my opinion. Now, it’s just up to people to buy within their means. Watch this space.