Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, August 22, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 11


Mountain View News Saturday, August 22, 2020 


Dear Savvy Senior:

My aunt recently asked me to be the executor of her 
will when she dies. I’m flattered that she asked, but I’m 
not sure what exactly the job entails. What can you 
tell me about this? Inquiring Niece

Dear Inquiring"

Serving as the executor of your aunt’s estate may seem like an honor, but it can also be a lot of work. 
Here’s what you should know to help you prepare for this job.

 As the executor of your aunt’s will, you’re essentially responsible for winding up her affairs after she 
dies. While this may sound simple enough, you need to be aware that the job can be time consuming 
and difficult depending on the complexity of her financial and family situation. Some of the duties 
required include:

 Filing court papers to start the probate process (this is generally required by law to determine the 
will’s validity).

Taking an inventory of everything in her estate. 

Using her estate’s funds to pay bills, including taxes, funeral costs, etc.

Handling details like terminating her credit cards and notifying banks and government agencies 
like Social Security and the post office of her death.

Preparing and filing her final income tax returns.

Distributing assets to the beneficiaries named in her will.

Be aware that each state has specific laws and timetables on an executor’s responsibilities. Your state 
or local bar association may have an online law library that details the rules and requirements. The 
American Bar Association website also offers guidance on how to settle an estate. Go to AmericanBar.
org and type in “guidelines for individual executors and trustees” in the search bar to find it.

Get Organized

If you agree to take on the responsibility as executor of your aunt’s estate, your first step is to make 
sure she has an updated will and find out where all her important documents and financial information 
is located. Being able to quickly put your hands on deeds, brokerage statements and insurance 
policies after she dies will save you a lot of time and hassle.

If she has a complex estate, you may want to hire an attorney or tax accountant to guide you through 
the process, with the estate picking up the cost. If you need help locating a pro, the National Association 
of Estate Planners and Councils ( and the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys 
( are good resources that provide directories on their websites to help you find someone.

Avoid Conflicts

Find out if there are any conflicts between the beneficiaries of your aunt’s estate. If there are some 
potential problems, you can make your job as executor much easier if everyone knows in advance 
who’s getting what, and why. So, ask your aunt to tell her beneficiaries what they can expect. This 
includes the personal items too, because wills often leave it up to the executor to dole out heirlooms. 
If there’s no distribution plan for personal property, suggest she make one and put it in writing.

Executor Fees

As the executor, you’re entitled to a fee paid by the estate. In most states, executors are entitled to take 
a percentage of the estate’s value, which often ranges anywhere from 1 to 5 percent depending on the 
size of the estate. But, if you’re a beneficiary, it may make sense for you to forgo the fee. That’s because 
fees are taxable, but Uncle Sam in most states doesn’t tax inheritances.

For more information on the duties of an executor, get a copy of the book “The Executor’s Guide: 
Settling A Loved One’s Estate or Trust” 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” book.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY! …August Birthdays*

Nancy Beckham, Karlene Englert, Juanita Fernandez, Jeanette Francis, Joseph 
Kiss, Jacquie Pergola, Pat Miranda, Jerry Burnett, Margaret Aroyan, Phyllis 
Burg, Beverly Clifton, Rosemary Morabito, Susan Poulsen, Joy Barry, Marcia 
Bent, Joan Spears, Ruth Torres, Jane Zamanzadeh. Helen Stapenhorst, Chandy 
Shair,Heidi Hartman, Erma Gutierrez, 

*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 distribution.

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



The 2020 Democratic National Convention just wrapped up 
and Vice-president Joe Biden was officially nominated as the 
Democratic candidate for president. The Republican National 
Convention will kick off next week with President Donald 
Trump slated to be nominated for a second term. With the major 
candidates set, It’s sure to be an exciting (if you’re a political 
junkie like me) campaign season until the final votes are cast on 
November 3.

Personally, I have never voted based on party. I always take a long hard look at the issues 
and who I think will best address them before casting my vote. While there are many, many 
issues to consider before voting, I’m going to focus on taxes for this article. And of course, 
there are many, many different tax issues, but I’m going to limit this discussion to inheritance 
and estate taxes, two issues I deal with on a professional level, every day.

Under current law, heirs receive a “stepped-up basis” in inherited assets. That means an 
heir’s basis (for tax purposes) is equal to the fair market value of the asset on the date the 
asset is inherited, not the original cost of the asset. This valuation scheme often saves heirs 
tens and even hundreds of thousands of dollars (sometimes even millions) in capital gains 
taxes on inherited assets.

Trump is likely to continue this system while Biden’s plan is to eliminate the step-up. It’s not 
clear whether Biden’s proposal would assess the full tax to the heir upon the sale of the asset 
or make the decedent’s estate pay the tax before the asset is passed to the heir. And while 
that distinction becomes important for the final amount of the tax, either way, the bottom 
line is that Biden’s plan will cost our heirs a lot—the current inheritance tax savings on an 
asset’s increased value equals 15 to 20 percent. 

As for estate taxes, the law under Trump provides an exemption amount of $11.58 million 
per individual (indexed for inflation). That means, only those with a net worth above 
$11.58 million are subject to the current 40% estate tax. I can help clients above that net 
worth legally reduce or even avoid those taxes with advanced estate planning techniques, 
but that comes at the price of additional legal fees, both now and for their heirs. 

Biden has yet to commit to all proposals, but the joint Biden-Sanders Unity Task Force 
recommends returning the estate tax to it’s historical norm which likely means rolling back 
the estate tax to the 2009 levels of a $3.5 million exemption and a 45% tax. That would mean 
the government would take 45% of any decedent’s net worth above $3.5 million before the 
decedent’s heirs got what was left. Again, with advanced estate planning techniques, my 
clients in that category would be able to reduce or eliminate those taxes, but their legal fees 
(and those of their heirs) would increase.

While I do believe tax policy is an important consideration when electing our government 
officials, in no way do I mean to suggest you should vote for or against any candidate based 
solely on his or her tax plan. My goal, as always, is to provide whatever education I can to 
help you make informed decisions for yourself and your family. And whether you ultimately 
favor Biden or Trump (or one of the third party candidates), I do encourage you to 
vote. Countless servicemen and servicewomen have sacrificed, bled, and died to ensure we 
have the right to determine the leaders who will tackle our important issues. In November 
I for one plan to honor all those who have sacrificed so much to give me that right. I hope 
you will join me.

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 for more information.


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder


 The other night the Gracious 
Mistress of the Parsonage and I were watching the 
news on TV. All it showed was riots, looting, and 
chaos, which has become the normal. When will 
they ever get back to broadcasting good news?

After a while, I heard a deep sigh on the other side 
of the room, and somebody say, "What's wrong 
with people?"

Being a veteran husband, I knew that was not 
a question I was supposed to respond to with a 
very logical answer. I knew the person asking that 
question was not looking for any response from 
me. I kept from looking in her direction.

Although I did not say it aloud, I did have to agree 
with her that we are living in some very crazy and 
chaotic times. Oh, if only I could go back and live 
in the 60s again with those hippies!

I just let that go, realizing that there is no way to 
answer such an inquiry. People will do what people 
will do. Many of those people are not good people.

Thinking about this, I remembered a little change 
that came into our house about a month ago.

Getting up one morning as I looked out the glass 
doors onto the back porch, I saw a little kitty 
looking at me. It could not have been more than 
a month old. I had no idea where this little kitty 
came from. I assumed it was just passing through, 
and the mama was somewhere around the corner.

As my wife came into the kitchen, I said, "Look at 
that little kitty on the porch. Isn't it cute?"

Even before she looked, she said very sternly, 
"Don't you dare feed that kitten."

I think the problem between husbands and wives 
is that husbands can hear, but have a hard time 
listening. I am sure I heard what she said, but it 
never registered in my brain. Of course, nothing 
really registers in my brain.

I began sneaking out little bits of treats for this 
little kitty, and to my surprise, it stayed around for 
a month so far.

After getting up in the morning, I would go to 
the glass door, look out, and sitting in front of the 
door looking at me was the kitty. It would look at 
me, then turn and look at the food dish, which was 
empty at the time, and then look back at me and 

I have as many problems with a little kitty’s meow 
as I do with a Girl Scout’s brown eyes when they 
are selling cookies.

Trying to do it with as much sleuthfulness as possible 
to keep my little secret from my wife, I fed the 
little kitty every morning and evening. Sherlock 
Holmes, I am not, but somebody in our residence 
comes very close to that.

Of course, my little secret was discovered.

One afternoon I went out to sit on the porch with 
the kitty two have a conversation.

The kitty lay down, facing me, and I began our 
little conversation.

“What do you think all of this nonsense and chaos 
and looting that’s going on in the world today?

The little kitty yawned a big yawn and stretched 
like it was getting ready to go to sleep. It acted as if 
it had no idea what I was talking about. It was very 
calm, cool, and collected and seemed to be enjoying 
resting on the back porch.

"What do you think about all this mask-wearing 
people are doing today? Do you understand what 
that's all about?"

Nonchalantly, the kitty laid his head down on 
its paws and closed its eyes as though it was no 

I had more questions I asked the little kitty and got 
the same answers.

Then, the little kitty stood up, looked at me, looked 
over at the food dish, looked back at me, and softly 

Although the kitty was not too interested in my 
questions, it was interested in her question, "When 
are you going to put food in my dish?"

I got some food, put it in the dish, and watched as 
the little kitty ate. Watching her, I could not help 
but be just a wee bit jealous. This little kitty had no 
idea what was going on in the world and could live 
on my back porch as though nothing in the world 
was wrong.

All that concerned this kitty was having her dish 
filled with food.

That little kitty's world is one of peace, serenity, 
and "kitty food." Nothing else had her attention 
for the least bit of time.

I have tried talking to this kitty about the latest 
news that was happening in the world and how 
nervous everybody was and how much fear there 
was, and it never influenced her one bit.

After all, no matter how bad the world was out 
there, this little kitty could not fix the problems. 
The only problem this kitty could fix was conning 
me into giving her food every morning and 

Sitting there, watching the kitty, I thought of a 
verse of Scripture. “Put them in fear, O Lord: that 
the nations may know themselves to be but men” 
(Psalm 9:20).

That kitty knows that it is a "kitty." Today's problem 
is that people do not realize they are "but 
men" and do not have the solution for the world's 

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