Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, July 11, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page A:9


Mountain View News Saturday, July 11, 2020 


Dear Savvy Senior: 

I lost my job last month because of the coronavirus crisis. 
With little savings, I’ve been thinking about starting 
my Social Security benefits early to help me get by. 
But my question is, if I find a new job can I stop my Social Security benefits and restart them at a later 
date so they can continue to grow? Almost 63 

Dear Almost: 

Yes, there are actually two ways you can stop your Social Security retirement benefits (once you’ve 
started collecting them) and restart them at a later date, which would boost your benefits. But in 
order to do this certain rules and conditions must be met. Here are your options. 

Withdraw your benefits: One way to pause your Social Security benefits is to simply withdraw your 
Social Security application. But this must be done within 12 months of starting your benefits and 
you’ll also have to repay what you’ve received so far. If you choose this option, Social Security will 
treat your application for early benefits as if it never happened. 

To withdraw your benefits, you’ll need to complete Form SSA-521 ( 
and send it to your local Social Security office. Also be aware that you can only withdraw benefits 
once in a lifetime. 

Suspend your benefits: If you aren’t eligible for withdrawal, but you’ve reached your full retirement 
age and have not yet reached age 70, another option is to voluntarily suspend your retirement benefits. 
With the suspension option you don’t have to repay the benefits you’ve received, and you can 
restart them anytime you wish, or they will be automatically be reinstated at age 70. (See 
planners/retire/ageincrease.html to find your full retirement age.) 

By suspending your benefits you’ll earn delayed retirement credits, which means your benefit 
amount increases for every month of the suspension. Your payment will go up by two-thirds of 1 
percent monthly or 8 percent annually. A benefit of $1,500 monthly, for example, increases by $10 
for each month you have benefits suspended. 

You can request a suspension by phone (800-772-1213) or in person at your local Social Security 

Working and Collecting Benefits 

If you start collecting Social Security and you do go back to work, but your income is modest, you 
may want to continue drawing your benefits while working at the same time. But if your earnings 
are higher, it makes sense to stop your benefits. 

Social Security has a “retirement earnings test” that says if you’re under your full retirement age 
and you earn more than $18,240 in 2020, Social Security will deduct $1 from your benefits for 
every $2 you earn over that amount. Those who reach full retirement age in 2020 a less stringent 
rule applies. In this case, $1 gets taken out for every $3 you make above $48,600 until you reach the 
month of your birthday. 

It’s also important to know that if you were to lose some or all of your Social Security benefits 
because of the earning limits, they aren’t lost forever. When you reach full retirement age, your 
benefits will be recalculated to a higher amount to make up for what was withheld. 

Also, if you do decide to work and collect Social Security benefits at the same time, you need to factor 
in Uncle Sam too. Because working increases your income, it might make your Social Security 
benefits taxable. 

Here’s how this works. If your combined income is between $25,000 and $34,000 as an individual 
or between $32,000 and $44,000 as joint filers, you will pay tax on up to 50 percent of your Social 
Security benefits. If you earn above the upper limit of these ranges, you will pay tax on up to 85 
percent of your benefits. To help you calculate this see the IRS publication 915 at 

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


HAPPY BIRTHDAY! …July Birthdays* 

Nina Bartolai, Mary Lou Caldwell, Louise Neiby, Betty Hansen, Christine 
Durfort, Shahrzad Azrani, Jeanne Borgedahl, Janet Cox, Dorothy Montgomery, 
Bess Pancoska, Janet Swanson, Linda Thunes, Barbara Watson, Pat Alcorn, 
Karma Bell, Alice Clark, Dorothy Jerneycic, and Betty Dos Remedios 

 * To add your name to this distinguished list, please call the paper at 
626.355.2737. YEAR of birth not required 


The City of Sierra Madre is following these procedures to provide current communication in light of 
COVID-19 and keep the Senior Community and families informed of essential information and resources. 
City staff are monitoring email communication daily, and although employees are minimizing 
direct engagement and practicing social distancing in the community, please note that voice messages, 
emails, and social media responses are being addressed in the most efficient and timely manner. 

If at any moment additional information is needed, please contact City Hall Administrative Services at 
(626) 355-7135, Monday-Thursday from 7:30a – 5:30p, as they are taking messages and e-mailing the 
appropriate person. 

For messages that may trickle in otherwise, please note our team is remotely checking voicemail daily at 
the Community Services Department, (626) 355-5278 x702. 

Community Services Department will continue email communication with Senior residents and aging 
community members. 

If you know of family members or neighbors who may benefit from accessing information electronically, 
and to receive the department’s Seniors Newsletter via email but may not otherwise have been included 
on an email group list, please send your request with email address to the following team members: 

Lawren Heinz and Clarissa Lowe 

Community Services Department will continue Electronic Seniors Newsletter on a weekly-basis 

Community Services Department will continue with mail drop-off of newsletters at the Sierra Madre 
U.S. Post Office Box (unless otherwise advised). 

City Social Media will continue via Facebook as well as Instagram, and information sharing will include 
updates as details becomes available. 

Mater Dolorosa - Sierra Madre Meal Pick-Up Program provides seal-packaged frozen meals, 5-per 
person every Thursday, 12:00 – 1:00 p.m. at Hart Park House Senior Center 222 W. Sierra Madre Blvd. 
Donations are accepted. Call (626) 355-5278; x702 or 704. 

YWCA Intervale Meal Program - Effective Wednesday, April 1, 2020 

YWCA has transitioned their distribution of take home meals at the Sierra Madre Hart Park House Senior 
Center to a home-delivery meal program. Participants previously reserved for meal pick-up as of 
Wednesday, 3/25/20 were informed that they would begin to have their meals delivered to their homes, 
beginning Wednesday, April 1, 2020 until further notice. 

For any additional participants calling in that are at a high risk and need meals delivered to, please 
provide us their name, date of birth (they must be 60+), address and phone number and Community 
Services Department will for-ward this information to our County Contact. 

Food Banks Support: Seniors & Families: 

If someone is outside of our local area and in need of a food bank, they can find one nearest them by 
going to and typing in their zip code; or call from the list here: 

First Church of the Nazarene-Pasadena 3700 E. Sierra Madre Blvd. 626-351-9631 

Wednesday 10:30 am-12 pm 

Pasadena Senior Center 85 E. Holly St. Pasadena 626-685-6732 

Foothill Unity Center 415 W. Chestnut Ave. Monrovia 626-358-3486 Monday 1 pm-3:30 pm, 
Wednesday & Friday 9 am-11:30 am 

Lifeline Community Services & Economic Development 2556 N. Lake Ave Altadena 

626-797-3585 2nd and 4th Wednesday 12 pm-2 pm & 8:15 pm-9 pm 

Morning Star Outreach Ministry 1416 N. Mentor Ave Pasadena 626-794-4875 

2nd & 4th Saturday 11 am-1 



A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder 


 In January, I 
wrote about 
how the 
deaths of NBA 
legend Kobe 
Bryant and 
his 13-yearold 
B r i a n n a , 
the vital need for estate planning for people of 
all ages. At the time, little was known about the 
planning strategies Kobe had in place to protect 
and preserve his estimated $600 million estate for 
his wife, Vanessa, and three surviving daughters, 
Natalia, 17, Bianka, 3, and Capri, 7 months.
Since then, court filings made by Kobe’s widow 
have shed light on both the successes and failures of 
Kobe’s estate planning efforts. On the positive side, 
Kobe created an extensive estate plan, which included 
the Kobe Bryant Trust to protect his assets, reduce 
estate-tax liability, and pass on his wealth to his family. 
While the contents of the trust remain private (one of 
the many benefits of this type of estate planning!), the 
court documents do provide a summary of the trust’s 
terms. Upon Kobe’s death, the trust was set up to allow 
Vanessa and her daughters to draw from the principal 
and income of the trust’s assets during Vanessa’s 
lifetime, with the remainder going to their children 
upon Vanessa’s death. 

However, while the trust lists Vanessa and his oldest 
daughters Natalia, Brianna (who died in the crash with 
her father), and Bianka as beneficiaries, his youngest 
daughter, Capri, who was born just six months before 
Kobe’s death, was not included in the document. 
Reportedly, Kobe and his lawyers simply never got 
around to amending the trust to add Capri before his 
untimely death at age 41. 

A tragic oversight 

Seeking to fix this oversight, Vanessa Bryant and Kobe’s 
best friend Robert Pelinka, Jr.—who were named Co- 
Trustees—petitioned the Los Angeles probate court 
to modify the trust by adding Capri as a beneficiary 
with equal rights as her sisters. Unless the court agrees 
with the petition, Capri will be ineligible to inherit 
her share of the family estate held in the trust, which 
could amount to wealth and assets worth hundreds of 
millions of dollars. 

According to the petition, the trust was created in 2003 
after the birth of the couple’s first child, Natalia, and 
its intent was to provide for the support of Vanessa 
and all of the couple’s children following Kobe’s 
death. As evidence of this intent, the petition points 
out the fact that Kobe amended the trust to add 
daughters Brianna and Bianka after they were born.
Although it’s likely the court will agree to the trust’s 
modification to include Capri, the fact remains 
that Kobe and his legal team made a major error by 
not updating his plan immediately following her 
birth. This mistake has undoubtedly cost Vanessa 
not only hefty sums of money in legal fees and 
court costs, but it also eliminated the trust’s biggest 
benefits by failing to keep Kobe’s surviving family 
members out of court and conflict, as well as 
exposing many of the estate’s details to the public. 
And the most unfortunate part of the whole situation is 
just how easily this oversight could have been avoided. 

Stay up to date 

It’s a popular myth that estate planning is simply a 
matter of creating the proper documents, filing those 
documents away for safekeeping, and only revisiting 
them upon the creator’s incapacity or death. However, 
this is far from the truth. Indeed, this oversight by 
Kobe’s lawyers illustrates why most plans—even those 
created by multi-millionaires—fail to keep families out 
of court and out of conflict. And though Kobe’s family 
can easily absorb these costs, your family probably 
can’t without significant impact. 

As Kobe’s case shows, even the most well-intentioned 
plan can prove ineffective if it’s not regularly updated. 
Estate planning is not a one-and-done type of deal— 
your plan must continuously evolve to keep pace with 
changes in your family structure, the legal landscape, 
your assets, and your life goals. 

And unfortunately, this kind of thing happens all the 
time. In fact, outside of not creating any estate plan 
at all, one of the most common planning mistakes we 
encounter is when we get called by the loved ones of 
someone who has become incapacitated or died with a 
plan that no longer works because it was never updated. 
Unfortunately, by the time they contact us, it’s too late. 

We recommend you review your plan at least every 
3 years to make sure it’s up to date, and immediately 
modify your plan following events like births, deaths, 
divorce, and inheritances. 

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.CaliLaw. 
com for more information. 


There are times when my bad 
hearing is a blessing. I'm not 
sure if I'm not listening or not hearing. It’s hard 
for me to tell. 

For example, the other night, right after midnight, 
the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage and 
I were pretty much sound asleep. There was more 
sound on the other side of the bed than on mine, 
but that's a different story. 

There was this tremendous boom, several flashes 
of lightning, and the rooftop was bombarded 
with rain. It sounded like some invasion. 

I didn’t hear it when it happened, but my wife 
shook me radically and asked, “What’s that 

Being the veteran husband that I am, I don’t jump 
to an answer unless I fully understand the question. 
In the middle of the night, there is no way 
I'm going to understand anything. That's just the 
way it is. 

Being in a groggier frame of mind more than 
usual, I asked, “What did you say?” 

Then my wife went into this long explanation of 
the noise and the lightning and the rain that woke 
her up. “What in the world is that?” 

From the tone of her voice, I was guessing she was 
confused as to the sound outside. Of course, I did 
not hear the sound, and therefore I was not a witness 
or at least a reliable witness. 

I had two ways to approach this. First, she was 
setting me up for something. Or, second, she 
didn't know what was happening outside. 

Correcting your wife or explaining something to 
your wife is hazardous territory. 

“Oh, that’s nothing,” I said as I was yawning. “Just 
go back to sleep.” 

And with that, I went back to sleep. Or I tried to. 

"No, no," she said. "Something's going on outside, 
and I'm not quite sure what it is." 

About that time, the boom and the lightning and 
the rain exploded again in our backyard. 

“See,” she said rather excitedly, “something’s going 
on outside in the backyard. I wonder if it’s our 
neighbors with their firecrackers?” 

In the last few weeks, almost everybody in our 
neighborhood set off firecrackers right after supper 
to nearly breakfast time. I never do that because 
I never like burning money. But some people 
get a thrill out of setting their money on fire 
and watching it explode in the air. 

I knew that the sound we just heard was not associated 
with any firecrackers. And the lightning 
was not related to firecrackers either. 

I had a very naughty thought dance in my mind 
at that point—some things I just can't refuse. 

We had been watching on the news the rioting 
and looting going on all across our country. Most 
distressing as we watched it. 

I sat up in bed, listened very intently and then 
said, “I wonder if it’s a riot in our neighborhood.” 

Somebody's eyes, and they weren't on my face, 
widened as I've never seen before. 

“Remember, we were watching that on the news 
before we went to bed last night? They may have 
come to our neighborhood without us knowing 

I’m from the country in Pennsylvania, and I know 
how to milk a cow. I thought I would milk this 
cow as long as I could. 

She leaned over and whispered, “Do you think we 
ought to call the police?” 

I’ve never had a scam go this far in my life. I 
wasn’t quite sure what to do. I confess I was having 
fun with this. It is not always I can have this 
kind of fun. Is it wrong for a husband to have this 
kind of fun with his wife? I’m not up on all of the 
PC activities that are prevalent today. 

Nothing I wanted more than for her to call the 
police. That would have not only made my day 
but the rest of my life. Whenever there would be a 
silent moment, I could always bring up the question, 
"Do you remember when you called the police 
because you thought there was a riot in our 

It was hard for me to hold back my infamous 
snicker. I tried as best I could, but I guess I failed. 

Looking at me, she said, "Why are you snickering?" 

“I’m not.” 

“Look at me. Yes, you are snickering. Why are you 

I guess it was time for me to come clean about the 
whole situation. I would have loved for it to go 
just a little longer. After all, such things only come 
once in a lifetime. 

I cleared my throat and finally told her that what 
she was hearing was a severe thunderstorm with 
lightning. That’s all it was, just mother nature 
clearing her throat. 

She stared at me, one of her stares, then turned 
over and went back to sleep. 

The next morning I got up, went to the kitchen 
and turned on the coffee pot. In a few moments, 
the Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage came into 
the kitchen. 

"Well," I chirped, "how was your night?" 

I got a stare still burning in my brain now. 

Throughout the day a verse of Scripture came to 
my mind. “Every way of a man is right in his own 
eyes: but the Lord pondereth the hearts” (Proverbs 

What we may think something is may not be exactly 
what it is. I need to rest my thoughts on God. 

Mountain Views News 80 W Sierra Madre Blvd. No. 327 Sierra Madre, Ca. 91024 Office: 626.355.2737 Fax: 626.609.3285 Email: Website: