Estate planning: What is your excuse?


Estate planning is one responsibility we all have in helping transfer our belongings to our family, relatives or whomever we choose upon our passing.

Where are you in this process regardless of whether you are 24 or 84? I usually ask this question of participants in the estate planning class titled “It’s My Money My Stuff and My Life” sponsored by the Greene County Council on Aging.

Here are some of the responses I have received over the years: “I do not have time; it’s not my problem; the task is too complex; the family does not get along; I will do it tomorrow; my spouse gets everything so why should I worry and I have told my family who gets what.”I left the most common excuse to last: “I do not want to face the possibility of my death.”

Granted, estate planning is not the easiest thing to do but I urge you to start. You might start with getting your will made or updated or checking to see who is listed as the owner of your home, insurance policies, your car or bank account. The reason asset ownership is important is the individual(s) listed as owners of the asset will be who the asset will go to upon your passing regardless of what your will states.

To get a picture of your estate I always suggest completing a “Letter of Instruction” which lists things like your assets, liabilities, insurance policies, family members and addresses, and funeral plans among others. This is not a legal document but can save your executor many hours and money running down this information. If you would like a copy emailed to you contact me at: [email protected].

Take the leap and make that first step in putting your estate plan together.

Pesticides and pets

I read with interest a recent article regarding the potential danger to children and pets of pesticides applied to the lawn and landscape. In my position as extension educator I was constantly ask questions pertaining to pesticide application and the potential danger. Some questions dealt with lawn play sets (swings etc.) which were covered in chemical weed or insect sprays. There were the calls related to lawns sprayed with pesticides and the danger to pets. Or what about the danger of garden plants touched by spray damage. Are the vegetables or fruits safe to eat?

Let’s tackle the situations one at a time. Children’s swing sets or other lawn furniture sprayed with pesticides should be washed with soap and water before being used by children. Be sure to wear something like neoprene gloves to do this cleaning.

Children, pets or people in general should stay off lawns or away from landscape plants sprayed with pesticides until the spray has dried. Fruits and vegetables sprayed with pesticides not licensed for pest control in fruits and vegetables should be destroyed. I always went by the old adage “When In Doubt Throw Them Out.”

No matter how healthy the plants look it is not worth the risk associated with eating the produce. Another source of information for risks posed by potential contamination of plants etc. from application of pesticides would be the pesticide label and follow-up with the company with questions related to your situation.

The value of mulch

As I write this column we have had an abnormal period of warm weather but have experienced frosts over most of the area. Some people have been starting to apply mulch around landscape plants too soon which may not help keep the plants in good health. Mulching plants in the late fall early winter can help minimize the wide temperature swings and subsequent root breakage resulting from the soil expanding and contracting.

Also applying mulch too early can create a condition where the plant is kept too warm and wet for the time of year resulting in root damage. Applying mulch which is too compact or dense can also create an environment which will promote damage from mold etc. It is usually best to apply 2-4 inches of mulch around the base of perennial plants once the ground freezes which is usually in late November or early December. More can be used around roses.

This will help keep the soil temperature cool and minimize the wide swings in temperature. Do not neglect those newly planted trees. For more ideas on this aspect go to the Purdue publication titled “Winterize Your Trees” FNR pub 484W which can be found at:

Dry soil around perennials

Too often we put the health of our perennials on the “back burner” in late fall and winter. Remember to check those plants growing under the roof overhang which means they do not get as much rain as those growing out in the open. Check the soil moisture in the top 4-6 inches to see if watering is needed. This “watering” can be done anytime the ground is not frozen.

Farm Forum

Greene Country Farm Forum invites you and your friends to join us for our final meeting of the year, Monday, Dec. 5 for an enjoyable evening with singer and songwriter David Mullikin. He will be sharing some of his songs and funny stories with us along with a great meal provided by McCoy Catering. The meeting will be held 6 p.m. in the McCoy Banquet Hall, 1130 Gurneyville Road, Wilmington. For some of David’s songs go to:

Tickets are $15 each and you can send your money and reservations to Jim and Ann Byrd at 1566 Beaverbrook Drive, Beavercreek, Ohio 45432. Their phone number is 937-429-1805. Reservations must be guaranteed and make checks payable to Greene County Farm Forum. Please send your request to Jim and Ann by Monday, Nov. 28.

‘Volcano Mulch’‘Volcano Mulch’

David Mullikin Mullikin

By Jerry Mahan

Jerry Mahan is a retired OSU Extension Educator Agriculture and Natural Resources for Greene County. He can be reached by email at [email protected].

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