Mountain Views News     Logo: MVNews     Saturday, October 27, 2012

MVNews this week:  Page 14



 Mountain Views News Saturday, October 27, 2012 



Dear Savvy Senior: Can you recommend some good do-it-yourself resources to help me write my will? 
At age 62, I want to get my affairs organized, but I hate paying a high-priced attorney fee if I can do it 
myself. Don’t Have Much

Dear Don’t:

If you have a simple, straightforward estate and an 
uncomplicated family situation, writing your own 
will – with the help of a good do-it-yourself guide 
– is a viable alternative to hiring an attorney and a 
whole lot cheaper. Here are some good resources 
to help you get started. 

Computer Required 

There are a number of computer software products and online resources available today that can help 
you create your own will very easily, and they usually take less than an hour from start to finish. Like 
tax software, these tools will guide you through a series of questions and will insert your answers into 
a will for you. But, you’ll need a computer to use them. Some good options to check out include:

Quicken WillMaker Plus 2013: This is a comprehensive estate planning software product that’s 
very user-friendly. It lets you create customized wills for an unlimited number of people, along 
with other important documents like financial powers of attorney, health care directives, executor 
documents, final arrangements and more. And once you’re finished, you can store your documents 
on your computer and update them as needed, and you can print them out on paper. Available in 
downloadable or CD format at for $43 or $52, this software works only with Windows 
operating systems and is valid in every state except Louisiana. 


Rocket Lawyer: This is an online resource – available at – that helps you create a 
will, trust, power of attorney and dozens of other legal documents in every state. They start by offering 
a free seven day trial period so you can actually make one document for free. Or, you can become a 
member for $20 a month, or $120 for their annual “Basic Legal Plan,” and get unlimited access so you 
can make, store, share and update any documents you want. They even provide annual members free 
legal reviews of their document and free phone assistance with an attorney. 

LegalZoom: Available online at, this site makes wills, trusts, powers of attorney, pet-
protection agreements and many other documents. After you create your will, or other documents, 
they double-check them for spelling and grammar mistakes (but not for legal issues) and mail you a 
printed copy in about a week to 10 days. Wills run $69, other documents range between $35 and $249. 

No Computer Necessary

If you don’t have a home computer or Internet access, a good resource to turn to is the “Quick & Legal 
Will Book” sold by Nolo for $21. This guide provides forms and step-by-step instructions that can 
help you make a basic will that meets your needs. To order a copy, call 800-728-3555.


Hire a Lawyer

It’s also important to know that if you have a complicated financial situation, blended family or if 
you have considerable assets, you need to hire a lawyer to write your will. An experienced lawyer can 
make sure you cover all your bases which can help avoid family confusion and squabbles after you’re 

The National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys ( and the National Association of Estate 
Planners and Councils ( websites are good resources that have directories to help you find 
someone in your area. 

Costs will vary depending on your situation and location, but you can expect to pay somewhere 
between $200 and $1,000 to get your will made.

If money is tight, check with your state’s bar association (see to find low-cost legal 
help in your area. Or call the Eldercare Locater at 800-677-1116 for a referral. 

Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit Jim Miller is a contributor to the NBC Today show and author of “The Savvy 
Senior” book.

 By Pat Birdsall

FYI: Last week I told you that I would be attending the movie Laura, shown in the Sierra Madre 
Council Chambers. It was part of the new Senior Movie Program where movies are chosen by the 
audience in attendance. Laura was a well-written murder mystery filmed in 1944. The dialogue was 
witty and the film well-acted, but my how times have changed! One couldn’t help but notice the 
constant cigarette smoking and the high-ball drinking that most of the characters did! Nowadays, in 
my opinion, films aren’t as well written. They seem to fill-in that shortcoming by having the characters 
pepper their lines with the F-bomb, a lot! Gad…Well, at least they aren’t encouraging our kids to 
smoke, she said sarcastically.

Next week I’m going to have several suggestions on how to burglarproof your home. It seems to be 
a topic that is getting much more attention these days, not only from Sierra Madre residents, but 
surrounding communities as well. I would also like to check in with our local police chief. ................

 ~ Helpful Hint~


Freeze herbs in ice-cube trays with water or chicken broth. This prevents waste and spoilage and is 
something you will appreciate having done at a later date.


For Your Funny Bone 

Three doctors are waiting in line into get to the pearly gates. St. Peter walks out and asks the first 
one, “What have you done to enter Heaven?” “I am a pediatrician and have brought thousands of 
the Lord’s babies into the world.” “Good enough to enter the gates,” replied St. Peter, and in he goes. 
The same question is asked of the second doctor. “I am a general practitioner and I go to third world 
countries three times a year to cure the poor.” St. Peter is impressed and allows him through the gates. 
The third doctor steps up in line and knowing the question blurts out, “I am a director of an HMO.” St. 
Peter meditates on this for a while and then says, “Fine, you can enter Heaven…but only for 2 days.”





 Sole Krieg, Margit Johnson, Ann Tyler, Pat Birdsall, Dick Anderson, Barbara Cline, Mary 
Jane Baker, Cathleen Cremins, Alma Mays, Eva Poet, Dixie Coutant, Angela Stella, Darlene 
Traxler, Darlene Crook, Gloria Giersbach, Susan Gallagher, Maggie Ellis, Elva Johnson, Ellen 
O’Leary, Jenny Piangenti, Gail-Ann Skiles, Anita Thompson, Adie Marshall, Lillias Eubanks. 
AND, add to that stellar list: A very special man! On October 5th, George Maurer turned 90! 
He is the gold standard when it comes to community service…our community. He so tirelessly lends 
a hand wherever it is needed: whether it is family or the community at large, he’s always there to lend 
a helping hand. Happy Birthday my friend! (To add your name to this ever-burgeoning list and to see 
your name in print, please call the paper at 626.355.2737.) Year of birth NOT required .


 Quote: Do not regret growing older. It is a privilege denied to many. Author unknown~ 


ACTIVITIES: Unless listed differently, all activities are at the Hart Park House (Senior 
Center) 222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd., Sierra Madre

 YWCA San Gabriel Valley Intervale Senior Café:

Monday-Friday at 12:00 Noon (participants are urged to arrive no later than 11:45 A.M.)

All seniors 60 and up can take part in the lunch program. There is a suggested donation 
of $2.00 for those 60 and over and $3.75 for non-senior guests. Daily reservations are 
necessary as space is limited. Please call 24 hours in advance…626.355.0256

Free Blood Pressure Testing: On the 2nd Tuesday of the month a nurse from Methodist Hospital, 
Arcadia volunteers to do the readings.11:00 am-12:00 pm-No appointment is necessary.

Bingo: Every Tuesday afternoon from 1:00 PM- 3:00PM. Cards are only .25c each! 

Free Chair Yoga: Every Wednesday morning from 11:00 AM-11:45 AM volunteer Teryl Willis 
offers this class focused on senior yoga techniques. It is geared toward gentle movements, breathing 
techniques and balance improvement. No reservations are necessary.

Free Legal Consultation: Pasadena attorney Geoffrey Chin volunteers on the 2nd Wednesday of 
the month. He focuses on estate planning, trusts, wills, probate, conservatorships and business law.* 

Appointments are a must. Please call at 626.355.7394 to make yours. *Conflicting court schedules can 
occasionally cause cancellations. 

Birthday Celebrations: The 2nd Thursday of the month the Senior Center celebrates the birthdays 
of our patrons at 12:30 PM. Please join us for free cake and ice cream and “celebration.” (The cakes are 
provided due to a generous donation from the Sierra Madre Civic Club.)

Game Day: Every Thursday at 1:00 PM. Poker is usually the game of choice, or should I say chance? 
Board games and other card games are also available. There is also a spectacular, one-of-a kind chess 
table on the patio that is just waiting for some action! 

Free Strength Training Class: Every Friday from 1:00 PM- 1:45 PM. Conducted by long-time 
volunteer Lisa Brandley. The class utilizes light weights for low-impact resistance training. Weights 
are provided by the Sierra Madre Senior Center. It’s a great way to stay in shape and to socialize with 
your peers.




Wednesday, November 7, 2012: 

Departure at 9:15 am from the Hart Park House. 

 Lunch & Activities from 10:00 am- 1:45 pm

 Return to the Park House at 2:15 pm (time approximate.) 

 Cost: $15.00 (does not include lunch.) 

The Columbia Memorial Space Center is a hands-on learning facility that is dedicated to bringing the 
wonder and excitement of space to the public. Exhibits include: NASA Live, flight simulator, rocket 
launcher, Challenger Learning Center and a memorial for the Columbia crew. The 20,000 square 
foot visitor center is equipped with amazing technology and visual teaching exhibits with friendly 
and knowledgeable staff. After the tour the group will eat together at a local restaurant. For more 
information on the Space Center please visit

For more information and to register for the excursion, call the Hart Park House at 626.355.7394.

 “NEW”- Senior Movie Program: Movies are shown on the 2nd and 4th Wednesday of the month. The 
films are chosen by the seniors themselves and will be shown in Council Chambers (222 W. Sierra 
Madre Blvd.) at 1:00 pm. The price of admission - FREE!


 I try to keep my column friendly and non-
inflammatory. But I think it’s safe to say that 
whatever your political bent, you probably agree that 
medical care in the U.S. leaves MUCH to be desired. 
(Apologies to my friends in the medical industry! As 
with any stereotype, there are individuals within the 
group who do not conform to sweeping generalizations.) I thank God 
that my family and I have dependable doctors, and I realize that our 
situation is probably better than most.

 However, in general, the medical industry leaves a bitter taste in my 
mouth. One particular annoyance is the endless tests which doctors 
prescribe, often merely because the patient has reached a certain age. 
In my opinion, the worst offenders in this category are the colonoscopy 
and the mammogram. Thank goodness I haven’t reached the age at 
which such tests are recommended! But I know many people who 

 It was during a horror story of a family friend’s colonoscopy when I had an epiphany! (How often 
do epiphanies occur when you’re thinking about someone’s colon?) Instead of snaking a probe into 
the body, contradictory to its natural design, why not have a probe that scopes out the digestive tract 
as part of normal digestion? I envisioned a pill with a camera that could be swallowed, “collected,” 
and then analyzed to get the full picture of one’s colon in glorious Technicolor! I thought for sure that 
I was the first person with a twisted mind to come up with this idea.

 I was both glad and disappointed when I read that “Given Imagining” has already designed these 
small wonders, and they’ve been used in the U.S. since 2001. My happiness over this non-intrusive 
option outweighed my disappointment upon realizing that I wasn’t the first to think of it.

 Similar to colonoscopies, mammograms are routinely ordered when women turn 40. Recent 
studies have shown that mammograms aren’t all that they’re cracked up to be; the imaging isn’t very 
clear, and every time you get squeezed you’re getting exposed to radiation, an unnecessary risk. And 
if you’ve had breast cancer, they’re going to throw in a few ultrasounds every year.

 My mom has been the victim of horrible treatment for breast cancer. But I thank God every day 
that He delivered her from it. Now her doctors have her on a non-stop mammogram/ultrasound 
schedule. Each time she goes in I complain that it’s just another way for the hospital to bill the 
insurance companies. There must be a better way. And the other day, my mom thought of one!

 We were talking about iPads and smart phones (I even feel unqualified writing about these things). 
I mentioned how helpful the GPS system on my phone is, because I always get nervous when driving 
to new places. Then we started complaining about the price of medical insurance, and my mom asked, 
“Why don’t they have phones that can do ultrasounds?” Sounds great to me! Just gel it up, slowly 
massage it over whatever area you’re concerned about, and a buzzer will sound off like a homing 
device as you get closer to a possible tumor or “foreign body.”

 My mom also had the idea that a little blade could come out and incise the tumor using its special 
Nano-technology. (At this point we didn’t really know what we were talking about, but it sounded 
better than driving to the hospital and submitting to the scope or vise grip.) While I doubt my mom’s 
brainchild of the smart phone ultrasound app will be available soon, I do see the potential. Heck, if a 
phone can read your heart rate when you press your finger to it, there’s no reason it can’t find a lump 
in your soft tissue. Remember, you saw it here first!