Innovative Change$ Email Header
Innovative Connections
In This Issue
Where There is a Will, There is a Way!
What Happens to Your Money When You Die
Power of Attorney and Advance Medical Directives
Financial Empowerment Clinic!
Financial Education Galore!
For Our Borrowers
Quick Links

Like us on Facebook

Follow us on Twitter
Upcoming Events

FINANCIAL EMPOWERMENT CLINIC!: October 19th, 10am-3pm at the Bradley Angle Resource Center, 5432 N Albina Ave, Portland, OR 97217



October 22, 2013

9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Oregon Convention Center, Portland.  Register at or call 1-877-926-8300.



Join Our Mailing List
Stay tuned for our next Innovative Connections Issue on:
SCAMS: Be Aware!
For Past Issues of Innovative Connections
Talia Kahn-Kravis
Deanna Oothoudt


Before we get into our exciting topic, we wanted to let you know that we are working to form a coalition of banks, credit unions and non-profits that make it easier for people to have free/low-cost and transparent banking services. In order for us to make Bank On Oregon happen, we need your input! Please take 5 minutes to fill out this survey and you will have not one, but two chances to win a $20 Fred Meyer gift card!


Now, to our topic of the month: estate planning! This issue is focused on some very long-term issues, looking at how you can prepare yourself now to help your family in the event of your serious injury or death. We know these aren't fun topics to think about, but they're among the most important ways you can provide stability for your family. That's why we're looking at the following topics in this issue of Innovative Connections: 

Happy Reading,
Innovative Changes
Where there is a Way, There is a Will!: An Introduction to Willsthree


A common misconception is that wills are only for the wealthy. In fact, over the course of their lives, most people accumulate a variety of property and possessions. A will is simply a written statement dictating how a person's property and possessions shall be distributed after that person's death. Additionally, a will can perform these functions:

  • name an executor, guardians for children, and guardians for pets
  • specify provisions for the payment of debts and taxes can be specified
  • provide for the termination of online identities (e.g., email, Facebook, Twitter accounts)

Although formal, specific wording is not required for a will to be legal. The maker and two witnesses must sign the will, but witnesses do not need to know the content of the will. Notary publics need not sign a will, but notarization provides additional validity.


The writing of wills is typically associated with attorneys. Benefits of consulting an attorney include circumventing legal issues due to ambiguous phrasing, gaining an outside perspective, and increasing the will's validity. While consulting an attorney may be beneficial, more affordable options exist. Will-writing software is available for purchase, in-store or online. Additionally, some libraries loan will-writing software. What are you waiting for? Where there's a way, there's a will!


Once your will is established, it is advantageous to review it annually and revise it when necessary. Occasions that may warrant revision include a change in marital status, number of children, or property ownership; the death of a beneficiary, executor, personal guardian, property manager, or witness; and a move to another state.


By Elaine Lord 

What Happens to Your Money When You Die?two


When you pass away, your estate goes through probate- a legal process in which a court oversees the distribution of your assets. This process is different in each state; however, some commonalities exist. Generally during the probate process the debts you owe will be repaid and your assets will be transferred to beneficiaries.

Your estate will not go through probate if you are survived by someone who co-owned your accounts or property. Also, your estate will not go through probate if you die leaving few assets, such as personal belongings.

If you left a will, the executor(s) deals with most of your affairs after death. The executor must apply for a grant of probate, which is a legal document confirming the executor's authority to deal with your assets (money, property, and possessions). Your will determines how and to whom your estate is transferred with your executor acting as your representative.

If you did not leave a will, a close friend or relative can apply to the probate registry to become administrator of the estate. The laws in your state will determine how your estate is distributed.In some cases, an executor or administrator is not necessary. For example, this may be true if the deceased person's estate is small or if the person is survived by a spouse or civil partner.

So which debts are repaid by the estate? Generally, taxes, mortgages, Medicaid, administration expenses, and funeral expenses take precedence. Credit card debts are one of the last debts to be paid, and oftentimes are not required to be repaid. Most debt only passes on to a living relative if that person cosigned on a loan or if that person had a joint account with the deceased. However, there are many exceptions to this. Families are protected by the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), and they should talk to an attorney if they are contacted by a creditor. Any problems should be reported to the state attorney general's office and the Federal Trade Commission.


By Katie Dineen
Photo by Images_of_Money  
Power of Attorney and Advance Medical Directives. Say What?!one    

Who would make the decision to keep you on life support indefinitely-or to pull the plug-if you were severely injured? Who would manage your money, insurance, and other assets to pay for your expenses or anything your family might need in that time of need?

While no one likes to contemplate these questions, they are literally a matter of life and death- and finances. For seriously injured adults, 20 percent had a family member quit a job or make another major life adjustment, and a third of families sacrificed their entire savings to support their loved one. Nobody plans to be incapacitated, but if you formally plan for the possibility in advance, you can save your family from a number of additional burdens.
There are two tools you need to know about to help yourself and your family: the advance medical directive (also known as a living will) and durable power of attorney. You don't need a lawyer to complete either one. 


Advance medical directives concern your health care decisions if you are not in a state to be able to make decisions for yourself. You can outline specifics about your care and you can name a trusted friend or family member to make those decisions for you. The scope of this is limited to your medical care.


If you want to expand decision-making power for your financial accounts, you can give a loved one something called "durable power of attorney." This means that should you be rendered incapacitated, this person has the authority to make decisions with your property and accounts. He or she can do anything from depositing your social security checks to doing your taxes.


If you don't give anyone durable power of attorney or create your advance medical directive, your family will need to go to court to get permission to be appointed guardianship. Not only can this be a costly process, but it is also very public. In some circumstances, it could be taking away from time they could be spending with you and taking care of other things that need to be put in order. 


To start creating these documents, think of what kind of things are important to you in such dire circumstances. Are there treatments you would want or not want? In what situations do you want your life prolonged with feeding tubes and/or respirators? Even if you do not know the answers to these questions, merely naming someone you trust to make those decisions for you would make things easier should the worst happen. You might want to also consider naming a secondary person who can make these decisionsif your primary person is unable to do so.


For the advance medical directive, each state has its own forms and rules about how the directive are made legitimate. Some merely need a witness, whereas in others, you need to get the directive notarized. In the state of Oregon, you only need a witness to sign. The Oregon form can be found here. 


For the durable power of attorney, you need to sign a letter stating that you give someone durable power of attorney. There are many fill-in-the-blanks letters available for free on the Internet. However, you have to be careful and make sure you understand what everything in the letter means. In every state except California, you need to get your durable power of attorney notarized when you sign it.


If you change your mind about anything in on either of these documents, you can do new ones that revoke the previous statements in writing. Unless you specify otherwise, the powers granted by these documents don't expire until you die. Finally, after you've gotten your documents squared away, you be sure to keep them in safe place and to give copies to your loved ones as well as your medical providers.


By Jenna Knobloch

Want to Plan for Your Financial Future? Come to our next Financial Empowerment Clinic: Saturday October 19thIDA


When: Saturday, October 19th from 10am-3pm
Where: Bradley Angle Resource Center, 5432 N Albina Ave, Portland, OR 97217
What: Meet with a financial planner for free, attend workshops on debt, retirement and savings, meet one on one with a credit expert to pull and review your credit report, learn about resources in your community, eat some food and bring your kids and the whole family!   
What else should I know?You can come and go throughout the day as you please. Meetings with financial planners and credit checks will be done on a first come first serve basis, and we will be signing people up for appointments throughout the day. There will also be Spanish translators available.
Great things to talk to a financial planner about include: 
- How do I start planning for retirement?
- What are good strategies for paying down debt?
- How much of a home or car can I actually afford?
- What are good strategies to make sure I am saving for not just myself, but my children's future?
- and more!


What is the workshop schedule?
Glad you asked! Here it is:


Debt or Savings: How do I choose?


The ABCs of Retirement


Budgeting for Your Dreams


Getting Ready for the  Holidays (with Kids!)


Meet with an expert to pull your credit report or make a financial plan.


I'm in! Do I need to register?
Registration is not necessary, but appreciated. You can do so here.

Financial Education Galorefined


We are teaching our Financial Household Resiliency classes in Tualatin, SE Portland and and at the Lloyd Center. Find a class near you and join us!


Tualatin Library Financial Household Resiliency Series*

Saturday, October 5th 10:30am-12:30pm: Making Ends Meet

Saturday, October 12th 10:30am-12:30pm: Budgeting and Saving

Saturday, October 19th 10:30am-12:30pm:  Hands-On Banking

Saturday, October 26th 10:30am-12:30pm: Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit

*The Tualatin Library is located at 18878 SW Martinazzi Ave, Tualatin, OR 97062. This series is free and open to the public.


Alder Elementary Financial Household Resiliency Series*

Tuesday, October 15th 5:30-8:00 pm: Making Ends Meet
Tuesday, October 22th 5:30-8:00 pm: Budgeting and Saving

Tuesday, October 29th 5:30-8:00 pm:  Hands-On Banking

Tuesday, November 5th 5:30-8:00 pm: Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit

*These classes will be held at Alder Elementary School, 17200 SE Alder St. Childcare and pizza provided! To register, contact the Alder SUN school coordinator at (503) 255-4673


October Financial Household Resiliency Series*

Tuesday,October 22nd, 5:30-7:30 pm: Making Ends Meet

Tuesday, October 29th, 5:30-7:30 pm: Budgeting and Saving

Tuesday, November 5th, 5:30-7:30 pm:  Hands-On Banking

Tuesday, November 12th, 5:30-7:30 pm: Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit


November Friday Morning Financial Household Resiliency Series*

Friday,November 1st, 10:00am-12:00pm: Making Ends Meet

Friday, November 8th10:00am-12:00pm:Budgeting and Saving

Friday, November 15th10:00am-12:00pm: Hands-On Banking

Friday, November 22th10:00am-12:00pm: Building, Repairing and Protecting Credit


*These classes will be held at our Lloyd Center office on the 3rd floor of the Lloyd Center Mall (between Nordstroms and the food court), 2010 Lloyd Center.The classes can be taken individually or as a series. They are $5 each and $15 for all four classes. Fee waivers are available for those who qualify.  Register here or call or email Misha at (503)-249-5205/

For Our Borrowers

Money treeAre You Receiving Your Payment Reminders?

If you chose to receive your payment reminders by email, make sure that they are coming to your inbox and not your junk mail. If you would like to change the way that you receive reminders (by mail, by email, or by phone call) let us know! Call Misha at 503-249-5205.

How to Make Your Loan Payment
  • You can mail your payment by check or money order to Innovative Changes, 2010 Lloyd Center, Portland, OR 97232.
  •  You can sign up for us to automatically deduct your payment from your bank account each month. Contact us if you would like to do this at 503-249-5205.  
  • You can drop off your payment (check, money order, or cash) at the Lloyd Center, 3rd Floor, Suite 2010 (2010 Lloyd Center Mall, Portland, OR 97232) Mon-Fri, 9 am-5 pm, or drop it through our mail slot on other days/times. 
  • You can also pay via PayPal by following directions on our website here. Please note, it asks you to fill in a donation amount, but this is not a donation, it will go towards your loan payment.             

We Are Here to Help!  


Are you having trouble making your payment this month, or afraid that it might be a little late? Let us know! We understand that unexpected events and expenses can make it hard to keep your finances on track, and Innovative Changes wants to be there for you in such cases. Innovative Changes is flexible and willing to work with our borrowers to satisfy loan obligations, and in return we ask for honest and timely communication. Remember, if you know your payment is going to be late, let us know ahead of time and we might be able to avoid charging a late fee or sending out a late notice.