Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, January 1, 2022

MVNews this week:  Page 12

Mountain Views-News Saturday, January 1, 2022 


Dear Savvy Senior:
I would like to get my personal, legal and financial information organized so my kids will know what’s going on 
when I’m no longer around. Can you offer any tips on the best way to do this? Unorganized Emma 

Dear Emma: 
Organizing your important papers and getting your personal and financial affairs in order is a smart idea and 
wonderful gift to your loved ones. Here are some tips to get you started. 
Get OrganizedThe first step in getting your affairs in order is to gather 
up all your important personal, financial and legal information 
so you can arrange it in a format that will benefit 
you now, and your loved ones later. 

Then you’ll need to sit down and create various lists 
of important information and instructions of how you 
want certain things handled when you die or if you become 
incapacitated. Here’s a checklist of areas you need to focus on. 


• Contacts: Make a master list of names and phone numbers of close friends, doctors, and professional 
advisers such as your lawyer, accountant, broker and insurance agent. 
• Medical information: Include a list of medications you take, along with any allergies and illnesses. 
• Personal documents: Include such items as your birth certificate, Social Security card, marriage 
license, military discharge papers, etc. 
• Secured places: List all the places you keep under lock and key such as safe deposit boxes, safe combination, 
security alarms, etc. 
• Digital assets: Make a list of all your digital assets, including everything from social media accounts 
to online banking accounts to home utilities that you manage online. It should include usernames and 
passwords. Use Rutgers Digital Assets Inventory Worksheet (
pdf) as a guide. 
• Pets: If you have a pet, give instructions for the care of the animal. 
• End of life: Indicate your wishes for organ and tissue donation and write out your funeral instructions. 
If you’ve made pre-arrangements with a funeral home include a copy of agreement, their contact 
information and whether you’ve prepaid or not. 

• Will, trust and estate plan: Include the original copy of your will and other estate planning documents 
you’ve made. 
• Financial power of attorney: This document names someone you trust to handle money matters if 
you’re incapacitated. 
• Advance health care directives: This includes a living will and medical power of attorney, which spell 
out your wishes regarding your end-of-life medical treatment when you can no longer make decisions for 

• Financial accounts: Make a list of all your bank accounts, brokerage and mutual fund accounts, and 
any other financial assets you have. 
• Debts and liabilities: Make a list of any loans, leases or debts you have – mortgages owed, car loans, 
student loans, medical bills, credit card debts. Also, make a list of all credit and charge cards, including the 
card numbers and contact information. 
• Company benefits: List any retirement plans, pensions or health benefits from your current or former 
employer including the contact information of the benefits administrator. 
• Insurance: List the insurance policies you have (life, long-term care, home, auto, Medicare, Medigap, 
prescription drug, etc.) including the policy numbers, agents, and phone numbers. 
• Property: List real estate, vehicles and other properties you own, rent or lease and include documents 
such as deeds, titles, and loan or lease agreements. 
• Taxes: Include the location of your tax records and your tax preparer’s contact information. 
Keep all your organized information and files together in one convenient location, ideally in a fireproof filing 
cabinet or safe in your home. Also be sure to review and update it every year, and don’t forget to tell your 
kids where they can find it. 

If you need help, get a copy of “Get It Together: Organize Your Records So Your Family Won’t Have To” at for $17.50 for the downloadable versions, or $20 for a printed copy. 

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 Marc Garlett 


When it comes to estate planning, most people automatically think about taking legal steps to 
ensure the right people inherit their stuff when they die. Although that thought is not wrong, it 
also leaves out a very important piece of planning for life, and perhaps the most critical part of 
planning overall. 

Planning that’s focused solely on who gets what when you die is ignoring the fact that death isn’t 
the only thing you must prepare for. Rather, consider that at some point before your eventual 
death, you very well may be incapacitated by accident or illness. 

Like death, each of us is at constant risk of experiencing a devastating accident or disease that renders 
us incapable of caring for ourselves or our loved ones. But unlike death, which is by definition 
final, incapacity comes with an uncertain outcome and timeframe. 

Incapacity can be a temporary event from which you eventually recover, or it can be the start of 
a long and costly event that ultimately ends in death. Indeed, incapacity can drag out over many 
years, leaving you and your family in agonizing limbo. This uncertainty is what makes incapacity 
planning so incredibly important. 

In fact, incapacity can be a far greater burden for your loved ones than your death. This is true not 
only in terms of its potentially ruinous financial costs, but also for the emotional trauma, court 
involvement, and internal conflict your family may endure if you fail to address it in your plan. 

The goal of effective estate planning is to keep your family out of court and out of conflict no 
matter what happens to you. So, if you only plan for your death, you’re leaving your family—and 
yourself—vulnerable to potentially tragic consequences. 

Where to start 
Planning for incapacity requires a different mindset and different tools than planning for death. 
If you’re incapacitated by illness or injury, you’ll still be alive when these planning strategies take 
effect. The legal authority you grant others to manage your incapacity is only viable while you remain 
alive and unable to make decisions about your own welfare. 

So, the first thing you should ask yourself is, “If I’m ever incapacitated and unable to care for 
myself, who would I want to make decisions on my behalf?” Specifically, you’ll be selecting the 
person, or persons, you want to make your healthcare, financial, and legal decisions for you until 
you either recover or pass away. 

You must name someone 
The most important thing to remember is that you must choose someone. If you don’t legally name 
someone to make these decisions during your incapacity, the court will choose someone for you. 
And this is where things can get extremely difficult for you and your loved ones. 

In such a scenario, the court will typically appoint a guardian or conservator to make these decisions 
on your behalf. This person could be a family member you’d never want to manage your affairs, 
or a professional guardian who charges exorbitant fees, and could even potentially decimate 
your estate. Either way, the choice is out of your hands. 

Furthermore, like most court proceedings, the process of naming a guardian is often quite a time-
consuming, costly, and emotionally draining task for your family. If you’re lying unconscious in a 
hospital bed, the last thing you’d want is to waste time or impose additional hardship on your loved 
ones. And this is assuming your family members agree about what’s in your best interest. 

This potential turmoil and expense, however, can be easily avoided. An effective incapacity plan 
keeps you in charge of who makes decisions for you, without the need for court intervention. 
What’s more, the plan can provide clear guidance about your wishes, so there’s no mistake or conflict 
about how these vital decisions should be made. 

Don’t put it offIf you don’t yet have an incapacity plan as part of your overall estate plan – or you haven’t had your 
plan reviewed in several years, the new year is a perfect time to make that happen. Getting it done 
will give you peace of mind and be an incredible gift of love to your family. It’s so important for you 
and those you care most about. Make it a priority in the new year. 


HAPPY BIRTHDAY! …January Birthdays* 

Gerald Day, Mary Tassop, Judy Webb-Martin, John Johnson, Mary 
Bickel, Marlene Enmark, Shirley Wolf, Ross Kellock, Ruth Wolter, Sandy 
Thistlewaite, Bobbi Rahmanian, Fran Syverson, Judy Zaretzka and Becky 

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

Please join the Sierra Madre Senior Community Commission in the Hart Park 
House Senior Center for the much anticipated Annual Holiday Luncheon. Meet our 
Senior Commissioners as they assist with serving lunch and provide some holiday 
cheer. Bring your festive spirit for a fun and lively game of bingo, your appetite for 
a boxed lunch (by Nano Cafe) and door prizes. Staff will begin taking reservations 
over the phone on December 2, 2021. Space is limited to 40 people so reserve your 
spot! Please call 626-355-5278 with your reservation and sandwich choice. Turkey, 
beef or tuna. 


 In house lunch dining service will not resume at this time. Access to the computer/
classroom is temporarily unavailable. All Classes and programs will maintain a distance 
of 6 ft between participants. All equipment used will be sanitized after each 
use before it is stored. Each participant is responsible for providing their own water, 
masks and additionally needed supplies for each class. Please call the Community 
Services Department at 355-7394 with any questions or concerns. 

Wednesday, 12/1, & 12/15 11:00 am— 12:30 pm Hart Park House The object of the 
game is for a player to play all the tiles from their hand onto one or more trains, 
emanating from a central hub or “station”. Call Lawren with questions that you may 
have. Led by volunteer Loni. 

Tuesday, 12/7, and 12/21, 10:00 am—Hart Park House If you enjoy painting, sketching, 
water color, or making some other form of artistic creation please join our new 
program, PAINT PALS!!! Bring a project that you are working on to the HPH and 
enjoy some quality art time with other artists looking to paint with a new pal. 

Wednesday, 12/7 & 12/21— 9:00 am Staff has launched a new book club series, Tea 
and Talk, which meets twice a month to discuss the fun, suspense, intrigue, love and 
so much more that each selection will have in store! 

Tuesday, 12/14 & Monday, 12/20 —10:00 am If you enjoy knitting, crocheting, embroidery, 
needlepoint, bunka, huck, tatting or cross stitch then we have a group for 
you! Bring your current project, a nonalcoholic beverage, then sit and chat with 
likeminded fiber friends. We meet in the Hart Park House 

Every Monday and Wednesday, 10-10:45 am Please join us for some gentle stretching, 
yoga, balance exercise and overall relaxation with Paul. Classes are ongoing and 
held in the Memorial Park Covered Pavilion. 

Every Friday, 10-10:45 am Bring a lei, your flower skirt or just your desire to dance! 
Hula in the Park is back and waiting for you to join in on all the fun! Memorial Park 

DECEMBER 23, 2021 - MONDAY, JANUARY 3, 2022 


A Weekly Religion Column by Rev. James Snyder 


Technically, Christmas is over... all over our living room floor, that is. Piles of wrapping 
paper in this corner and empty boxes in that corner, and colorful ribbons from 
here to there, all evidence that Christmas must have been a success this year. 

I was reclining in my chair, sipping a nice cup of hot chocolate while the Gracious 
Mistress of the Parsonage was cleaning up the kitchen. In our own little world, both of us were reveling 
over the past Christmas holiday. For us, it is such a nice time of the year when families get together and 
just enjoy the season. 

My wife and I have come through various phases when it comes to Christmas. 

Phase one; we spent our first Christmas in our own little apartment. Married only six months, all we had 
was each other. I must confess this was the cheapest Christmas we ever had. All I had to do was buy one 
Christmas present for my new bride. 

Phase two; it was not long until the sound of little feet pattering down the hallway changed our Christmas 
forever. We had approximately three children; I say approximately because they ate like a herd of elephants. 
I know, I had to pay the grocery bill. But Christmas at that time was a wonderful event of excitement and 
surprises. So Christmas was now becoming a more expensive item in our family budget. 

Phase three; is where we are at now. The children are all grown up and have children of their own. Now it 
is time for the grandchildren to come storming through the front door and be amazed by all of the gifts 
underneath the Christmas tree. It is almost like reliving your childhood. 

Christmas gets more expensive as we get older. I am looking forward to that phase of senility when I do 
not know what is happening or how much things are costing. 

I must say that I enjoyed each phase at the time. Each phase seemed to get better and better. 

Those who opposed the Christmas season must not have enjoyed the Christmases such as my wife and I 
have enjoyed. Having wiggly, squiggly, and giggly grandchildren all over the living room floor opening up 
their gifts and making a mess is an experience no one should miss. 

As I was pondering our past Christmas, I thought about how much goes in preparing for Christmas. There 
is the shopping... the parties... the wrapping of presents. Reflecting on the past Christmas, it came to my 
mind that we often spend too much, eat too much and laugh too much on our way to Christmas day. So 
much is put into getting ready for Christmas that there is a great let down the day after Christmas. 

There is no silence quite as loud as the silence that dominates the house the day following Christmas. 

I used to think that good old St. Nick had the most difficult job in the world. I often wondered how he 
ever accomplished all that he did on Christmas. After all, he has to make the stuff, pack the stuff, ship the 
stuff and then stuff himself down a chimney. Not to mention that he usually stuffs himself with Christmas 
cookies. So the difference between Christmas cookies and other cookies is that Christmas cookies have 
no calories. 

But I got to thinking. Santa Claus has the easiest job in the world. He does not have to stick around the day 
after Christmas. He does not have to worry if people like what they got for Christmas. Nor does he have to 
contend with returning gifts. I never know what to get anybody. 

Then my mind traveled in the direction of my purchases this past Christmas. What was the condition of 
my credit card? This Christmas, I used it so much that it was at the brink of a meltdown. So I pulled it out 
of my wallet, and unless my mind was playing tricks on me, it did feel a little warm. 

I had a little frightening thought. Did I write down all my purchases in my checkbook? I must confess that 
my shopping is usually a receipt-challenged experience. I have no idea what happens to my receipts once 
I purchase an item. What if somebody wanted to return one of my gifts? How would they do it without a 

Then I revisited my thoughts about good old St. Nick. Perhaps he was wiser than I gave him credit for at 
the time. His job was simply to bring Christmas into the home. He did not worry about if he got the right 
present for the right person or not. Sure, he had a list, but he only checked it twice. Then he forgot about it. 

Christmas is not for fretting and worrying about if you got the right present for the right person. Rather, 
Christmas is to enjoy the experience of simply giving. Not so much what you give, as it is the act of giving 

It was God who set a standard for Christmas. The Bible tells us, "For God so loved the world, that he gave 
his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 

Setting back in my easy chair with my hot chocolate, I exchanged the nightmare for the satisfaction I felt 
in giving to people I loved. 

Dr. James L. Snyder is pastor of the Family of God Fellowship, Ocala, FL 34483, where he lives with the 
Gracious Mistress of the Parsonage. Telephone 1-352-216-3025, e-mail Website 

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