Mountain Views News, Sierra Madre Edition [Pasadena] Saturday, August 4, 2018

MVNews this week:  Page B:2




Mountain Views-News Saturday, August 4, 2018 

Jeff’s Book Pics By Jeff Brown



Unlike many estate assets, if you’re looking to 
collect the proceeds of a life insurance policy, 
the process is fairly simple (provided you’re 
named as the beneficiary). That said, following 
a loved one’s death, the whole world can feel 
like it’s falling apart, and it’s helpful to know 
exactly what steps need to be taken to access the 
insurance funds as quickly and easily as possible 
during this trying time. 

 And if you’ve been dependent on the 
deceased for regular financial support and/or 
are responsible for paying funeral expenses, 
the need to access insurance proceeds can 
sometimes be downright urgent.

 Here is an outline of typical procedure for 
claiming and collecting life insurance proceeds, 
along with some of the common hiccups in the 

Filing a claim

To start the life insurance claims process, you 
first need to identify who the beneficiary of the 
life insurance policy is—are you the beneficiary, 
or is a trust set up to handle the claim for you?

 We often recommend that life insurance 
proceeds be paid to a trust, not outright to a 
beneficiary. This way, the life insurance proceeds 
can be used by the beneficiary, but the funds are 
protected from lawsuits and/or creditors that 
the beneficiary may be involved with—even a 
future divorce.

 If a trust is the beneficiary, the trustee will 
need to notify the insurance company of the 
policyholder’s death and provide them with a 
certificate of trust and a death certificate when 
one is available.

 From there, the insurance company typically 
sends the beneficiary (or the trustee if a 
trust is named as beneficiary) more in-depth 
instructions and forms to fill out.

Multiple beneficiaries

If more than one adult beneficiary was named, 
each person should provide his or her own signed 
and notarized claim form. If any of the primary 
beneficiaries died before the policyholder, an 
alternate/contingent beneficiary can claim the 
proceeds, but he or she will need to send in the 
death certificates of both the policyholder and 
the primary beneficiary.


While policyholders are free to name anyone as 
a beneficiary, when minor children are named, 
it creates serious complications, as a minor child 
cannot receive life insurance benefits directly 
until they reach the age of majority. 

 If a child is named as a beneficiary and has yet 
to reach the age of majority, the claim proceeds 
will be paid to the child’s legal guardian, 
who will be responsible for managing those 
funds until the child comes of age. Given 
this, in the event a minor is named you’ll 
need to go to court to be appointed as legal 
guardian, even if you’re the child’s parent. 
Therefore we recommend never naming a 
minor child as a life insurance beneficiary, 
even as a backup to the primary beneficiary. 
Rather than naming a minor child as a life 
insurance beneficiary, it’s often better to set up 
a trust to receive the proceeds. By doing that, 
the proceeds would be paid into the trust, and 
whomever is named as trustee will follow the 
steps above to collect the insurance benefits, put 
them in the trust, and manage the funds for the 
child’s benefit. 

Insurance claim payment

 Provided you fill out the forms properly and 
include a certified copy of the death certificate, 
insurance companies typically pay out life 
insurance claims quickly. In fact, some claims 
are paid within one-to-two weeks of the 
start of the process, and rarely do claims take 
more than 60 days to be paid. Most insurance 
companies will offer you the option to collect 
the proceeds via a mailed check or transfer the 
funds electronically directly to your account. 
Sometimes an insurance company will 
request you to send in a completed W-9 form 
(Request for Taxpayer Identification Number 
and Certification) from the IRS to process a 
claim. Most of the time, a W-9 is requested 
only if there is some question or issue with the 
records, such as having an address provided in 
a claim form that doesn’t match the one on file. 
While collecting life insurance proceeds is a 
fairly simple process, it’s always a good idea to 
consult with a trusted legal advisor to ensure 
the process goes as smoothly as possible during 
the often-chaotic period following a loved one’s 

 Dedicated to empowering your family, 
building your wealth and defining your legacy,

A local attorney and father, Marc Garlett is 
on a mission to help parents protect what they 
love most. His office is located at 55 Auburn 
Avenue, Sierra Madre, CA 91024. Schedule an 
appointment to sit down and talk about ensuring 
a legacy of love and financial security for your 
family by calling 626.355.4000 or visit www. for more information.

My Dear Hamilton: A Novel 
of Eliza Schuyler Hamilton by 
Stephanie Dray and Laura 

 From the bestselling authors of 
America’s First Daughter comes 
the epic story of Eliza Hamilton-
-a revolutionary woman who, like 
her new nation, struggled to define 
herself in the wake of war, betrayal, 
and tragedy. In this haunting, 
moving, and beautifully written 
novel, Dray and Kamoie used 
thousands of letters and original 
sources to tell Eliza’s story as it’s 
never been told before--not just as 
the wronged wife at the center of a 
political sex scandal--but also as a 
founding mother who shaped an 
American legacy in her own right. 
A general’s daughter...Coming 
of age on the perilous frontier of 
revolutionary New York, Elizabeth 
Schuyler champions the fight for 
independence. And when she meets 
Alexander Hamilton, Washington’s 
penniless but passionate aide-
de-camp, she’s captivated by the 
young officer’s charisma and 
brilliance. They fall in love, despite 
Hamilton’s bastard birth and the 
uncertainties of war. A Founding 
Father’s wife...But the union they 
create--in their marriage and the 
new nation--is far from perfect. 
From glittering inaugural balls to 
bloody street riots, the Hamiltons 
are at the center of it all--including 
the political treachery of America’s 
first sex scandal, which forces Eliza 
to struggle through heartbreak and 
betrayal to find forgiveness. The last 
surviving light of the Revolution...
When a duel destroys Eliza’s hard-
won peace, the grieving widow fights 
her husband’s enemies to preserve 
Alexander’s legacy. But long-buried 
secrets threaten everything Eliza 
believes about her marriage and her 
own legacy. Questioning her tireless 
devotion to the man and country 
that have broken her heart, she’s left 
with one last battle--to understand 
the flawed man she married and 
imperfect union he could never have 
created without her...

How Schools Work: An Inside Account 
of Failure and Success from One of the 
Nation’s Longest-Serving Secretaries of 
Education by Arne Duncan 

 From the Secretary of Education under President 
Obama, an exposé of the status quo that helps 
maintain a broken system at the expense of our 
kids’ education.“Educationruns on 
lies. That’s probably not what you’d 
expect from a former Secretary of 
Education, but it’s the truth.” So 
opens Arne Duncan’s How Schools 
Work, although the title could just 
as easily be How American Schools 
Work for Some, Not for Others, 
and Only Now and Then for Kids. 
Drawing on nearly three decades in 
education—from his mother’s after-
school program on Chicago’s South 
Side to his tenure as Secretary of 
Education in DC—the book follows 
Arne as he takes on challenges at 
every turn: gangbangers in Chicago 
housing projects, parents who call 
him racist, teachers who insist they 
can’t help poor kids, unions that 
refuse to modernize, Tea Partiers who 
call him an autocrat, affluent white 
progressive moms who hate yearly 
tests, and even the NRA, which once 
labeled Arne the “most extreme anti-
gun member of President Obama’s 
Cabinet.” Going to a child’s funeral 
every couple of weeks, as he did when 
he worked in Chicago, will do that to 
a person. How Schools Work exposes 
the lies that have caused American 
kids to fall behind their international 
peers, from early childhood all the 
way to college graduation rates. But it 
also celebrates the countless everyday 
heroes Arne has encountered 
along the way: teachers, principals, 
reformers, staffers, business people, 
mayors, and presidents. The book 
will inspire parents, teachers, voters, 
and even students to demand more 
of our public schools. If America is 
going to be great, then we can accept 
nothing less.

Fear: Trump in the White House 
by Bob Woodward 

 The inside story of President 
Trump as only Woodward can tell it. 
With authoritative reporting honed 
through eight presidencies from Nixon 
to Obama, author Bob Woodward 
reveals in unprecedented detail 
the harrowing life inside President 
Donald Trump’s White House and 
precisely how he makes decisions on 
major foreign and domestic policies. 
Woodward draws from hundreds of hours of 
interviews with firsthand sources, meeting notes, 
personal diaries, files and documents. The focus is 
on the explosive debates and the decision-making in 
the Oval Office, the Situation Room, Air Force One 
and the White House residence. Fear is the most 
intimate portrait of a sitting president ever published 
during the president’s first years in office.

All Things By Jeff Brown


 “Russia is not actually seeking a return to normal 
relations with the West. Putin appears to be placing 
all his bets on the conviction that Russia will prevail 
in the long term, because Western dmocracy is in 
irrevocable decline. He consistently rejects the idea 
that democracy is in any way superior to his model-
the authoritarian model. If we are to prove him wrong, 
we must remember and remind him that American 
success does not flow from our economic and military 
might, but from the core values that have enobled and 
sustained our system since the American Revolution.” 
Rolf Mowatt Larssen from the Washington Post


by Rupert Spira

 Your Self, Aware Presence, knows no resistance 
to any appearance and, as such, is happiness 
itself; like the empty space of a room it cannot be 
disturbed and is, therefore, peace itself; like this 
page, it is intimately one with whatever appears 
on it and is thus love itself; and like water that 
is not affected by the shape of a wave, it is pure 
freedom. Causeless joy, imperturbable peace, love 
that knows no opposite and freedom at the heart 
of all experience....this is your ever-present nature 
under all circumstances.

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Real Life Tips from LIfe's Instruction Manual

YOGIC WISDOM - Practical Emotional Health

Yoga seems to offer the most 
practical tools for living. 
It uses the body to work 
on the mind in a unique 
way. In fact, many seek out 
yoga looking for emotional 
balance. To find this balance, 
we must acknowledge that 
we are multi-layered and 
multi-faceted individuals. 
There’s the physical body, 
mental/emotional body, energetic body, and wisdom/
spiritual body. When all layers are harmonious, we can 
say that’s a state of optimal health. The word for this from 
yogic and ayurvedic tradition is called Svastha. It’s a state 
of being, a state of inner alignment where we can embody 
our unique purpose for being here. And it’s when we are 
in this purpose that we are happy, most fulfilled, and 
most free and most at peace. Have you ever felt that state 
of peace and been busy as ever? The two can and should 
co-exist. It means you were in your purpose and healthy.

 Drawing from the wisdom of ancient sages and texts, 
yoga offers the core practices that we need in order to find 
balance. Yoga wants to get us back to our innate sense of 
love, joy, and wonder. It’s also true that yoga, combined 
with Ayurveda-- the sister science to yoga-- provides a 
highly effective, individualized approach to well-being. 
This creates an experience wherein actualizing balance 
is possible. Traditional practices include asana (postures), 
pranayama (breath practices), meditation (sustained 
concentration/devotion to the divine), bandha (energetic 
gathering places in the body), kriya (yoga of action/
cleansing practices) and mudra (communication through 
gesture). The most immediate and accessible practices 
are breathing and moving. We use this in yoga classes 
from the beginning. It’s an integrative approach that 
addresses many layers of who we are. While stretching 
and strengthening, yoga postures (asana) aim to create a 
free flow of energy. Breath practice keeps us in the present 
moment while deeply affecting the internal systems of 
the body. And…the benefits of meditation spread far and 

 Know that a specific breath practice or yoga posture 
could turn our mood around in a hurry! This can work 
in the short term and over time. The tools and techniques 
of the sages are quite profound. If you’ve been plagued 
by negative emotions, consider shifting your practice 
or learning a new (ancient) technique from a qualified 
teacher. All of what we feel has an impact on our health, 
including specific biochemistry and emotional patterning. 
It’s important to cultivate balance and calmness as 
we proceed. Please contact me to learn more: keely@


Keely Totten, 

Yoga & Meditation Teacher 

Lori A. Harris


My coach counsels her clients to notice what 
we're noticing, a simple suggestion that yields 
extraordinary value. Scientists estimate that we 
have thousands of thoughts per day and several 
hundred per minute. I don't find that surprising. 
Unfortunately, most of those thoughts are negative. 
We engage in constant negative self-talk, we berate 
ourselves. We're mean to ourselves, but it doesn't 
have to be that way.

 I once participated in a demonstration where 
the speaker asked me to share some of my negative 
self-talk from the stage, in the interest of growth, I 
agreed. Then she asked me to extend my right arm, 
and resist her effort to push it down. I continued to 
hold my arm out while saying nasty things to myself 
about myself. She overpowered me with minimal 

 Negative thoughts and self-talk can damage your 
self-esteem and sabotage your efforts to grow or 
change. However, you can stop that with awareness.

 Much like a computer, you have an operating 
system running in the 
background of your mind. 
With awareness, you can 
reboot and upgrade that 
system. It requires diligence to 
notice and catch the negative 
thoughts and confront them 
as they arise.

 The speaker offered a bit of 
teaching on how to combat 
those negative thoughts and messages, and then we 
repeated the exercise. She asked me to say positive 
things about myself and verbalize the facts of 
successful events in my life while she tried to push my 
arm down. She wasn't able to do it. Why? Positive 
thoughts and positive words are empowering.

 Want to feel better? Start by noticing your self-
talk and watch things improve.

 Lori Harris is a lawyer and coach. She is offering 
free one on one consultations to help you achieve your 
goals, learn more at her website

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