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Blue Slipper Stories

Widows’ Guild Newsletter ̵ October 2020

grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. Priscilla recalls that Robert was always up to something: “We were always active in our church, and he also volunteered with our local fire company.” “When Robert passed, I lost most of the income we had been living off of,” she explained. “There were a lot of bills coming in and so forth. The financial help that the Masonic Outreach Program provided was so meaningful.”

GIVE A LITTLE, GET A LITTLE: ONE WIDOW’S STORY The good thing about being part of the Masonic family is that when you have a need, there are always people around to help. Priscilla and her late husband, Robert, knew this well. Robert was a Mason for many years and worked with his lodge as often as he could, given his very busy work schedule. “He contributed and helped out with fundraisers with his lodge, and he was also a part of the Tall Cedars,” Priscilla said. Robert passed away in 2018 after many years of health complications. They would have celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary only a few months later. He was a big sports fan and was very active throughout his life. He loved hunting and fishing, and he and Priscilla always watched local baseball games together. They also enjoyed spending time with their three children, three

Priscilla had known about the Widows’ Guild from widows of other members of Robert’s lodge, so when she received the card with the contact information for the Masonic Outreach Program from the Guild, she was aware of all the help that was available to her. However, Priscilla was still surprised at the extent to which outreach staff supported her. “The help they provided was above and beyond my expectations,” she said. “The friendliness from everyone I talked to meant a lot to me.” In addition to the financial help, Priscilla has also benefited from the connections she has made through the Widows’ Guild and Outreach Program. From phone calls with staff members and staying in touch with other widows through events and the “Blue Slipper Stories” newsletter, she feels cared for. “The outreach is important to us [widows]. It shows us that someone cares, and that we’re not alone.” Priscilla encourages other widows to request help if they need it. “Don’t hesitate to reach out” she recommends. “Even a conversation [with other widows or Widows’ Guild or Masonic Outreach Program staff] just to talk is very helpful. Staying connected is important because it can get lonely.”


which assets should be probated through her Will and which assets should go directly to heirs or charity by beneficiary designation.

IS IT TIME TO UPDATE YOUR WILL? By Brother Alvin Blitz, Esq. Chief Gift Planning Officer, Masonic Villages

The Issue: Jane, a widow, recently moved

to the Masonic Villages from Florida. She visited with me to ask if she should get her Will reviewed. It was written over 10 years ago after her husband passed. Her two children are grown and have children of their own. Jane seemed happy with the current Will and did not want to pay an attorney for a new Will.

The Answer: Although every person’s situation

is different, there are some common items of importance to consider in determining whether or not to have your Will updated. Estate tax laws have changed substantially over the past 10 years. A Will written in 2010 may include tax provisions that are inappropriate today. Furthermore, since Jane moved from Florida to Pennsylvania, she must take into account that her estate is subject to the Pennsylvania Inheritance Tax. Also, since the Will was written in another state, it is a good idea to have a new one done because estate laws vary from state to state. If her children now have children, the Will should be revised to take into account that these may be minor children and decide how they should be part of her estate plan. Over the years, Jane has accumulated assets that are now substantial. The present provisions in the Will need to be revised to determine

Jane disclosed that one of her grandchildren is developmentally disabled, which requires a different approach such as a special needs trust for leaving this grandchild assets. In addition, she confided that both children reside in California, which could pose a problem in determining which one would be able or willing, to serve as the Executor of her estate. Finally, the attorney who drafted her Will is in Florida, and she does not have an attorney to handle her estate in Pennsylvania when she passes away. This problem also may occur when the attorney who drafts the Will retires or predeceases the client. In summation, a Will is a written plan for the proper disposition of your assets upon your death. Failure to keep your Will up to date is not good planning and could result in dire consequences for your heirs. Furthermore, as life changes, our relationships evolve, and the ones we want to share in our financial legacy may change over time. In fact, any desire to help a charity at death must be included in your estate plan. You need to consider a checkup of your Will every several years or after a life-changing event to assure that your affairs are in order. So, if you are one of those individuals, like Jane, who hasn’t done anything about your Will in years, I suggest you take the time to get it done before it is too late. The Masonic Charities now has a Wills Planner website, www.masoniccharitieslegacy.org, where you can prepare an estate plan online and then reach out to an attorney in your area through our attorney list. You can also receive a copy of the Will Planner document and attorney list by calling us at 1-800-599-6454. For those wanting additional information on estate and charitable planning, ask to speak to one of our gift planning professionals. With my assistance, Jane completed her own Wills Planner document, and then I referred her to a local attorney on the attorney list to get her Will completed. She was happy she did.


GREETINGS FROM LINDA JACKSON Relations Administrator Since March, our lives have been very different, but I hope that over the summer months, you have been able to experience a bit more freedom and socialization with your friends and family. While we continue to navigate these uncharted waters, we can only do our best to adapt to the changes that seem to occur on a daily basis. However, one constant that remains is our commitment to caring for our Masonic widows. Over these past months, I have had the pleasure to connect with many of you through telephone and email communications. While not as personal as a face-to-face visit, please know that I have enjoyed each and every encounter. I continue to encourage members of the Widows’ Guild to reach out to one another by phone or email, as you all share a very special bond. A simple message of “I’m thinking about you” can go a long way to lift the spirits of someone who is feeling alone and isolated. If you have reached out to a member of the Guild during the past few months, I would love to hear your experience. If you haven’t received your copy of the 2020 Widows’ Guild Directory, please request one by visiting our Widow Support webpage, www. masonicvillages.org/widows, or contact me by phone or email. As we look ahead and prepare for the holiday season, my wish for you is to find peace and joy in your life, appreciate small acts of kindness, lean on one another for strength and comfort and always remember you are not alone in your journey. I hope you enjoy this latest edition of “Blue Slipper Stories.”

MASONIC OUTREACH PROGRAM

Home Assistance Support: 25 widows to date in 2020 Total Support Approved: $57,350

RESOURCE CORNER Expanded Medicare Coverage for Telehealth Checkups

On March 6, 2020, the Coronavirus Preparedness and Response Supplemental Appropriations Act was signed into law, allowing Medicare to waive certain requirements for telehealth services. Telehealth allows a patient seeking advice to check in with their doctor by phone or computer from the comfort and safety of their home and receive medical direction on whether an in-person exam is needed, according to the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Medicare also covers telemedicine for routine follow-up visits. There are many advantages to telehealth during a pandemic, but even during normal times, patients with cold or flu symptoms can be examined without leaving their home. For patients with transportation challenges, or those who live in rural areas miles away from a doctor’s office or clinic, telehealth is a valuable tool for keeping the doctor-patient relationship current. So, the next time you’re feeling under the weather or need to follow up with your doctor, ask about a telehealth visit.

Are you thinking about living at a Masonic Village someday? The first step is to reach out to the Sales and Marketing team who will provide information, discuss living options and encourage you to get your name on the priority waiting list. Don’t worry if your timetable to make a move is unknown or you are still deciding which living accommodation best suits your needs; we are flexible! To contact the Sales and Marketing team at your preferred location, visit the Masonic Villages website at www.masonicvillages.org.


Masonic Widows’ Guild Program 12 Village Green Drive Elizabethtown, PA 17022

Blue Slipper Stories

Widows’ Guild Newsletter ̵ October 2020

Contact Us

If you or someone you know is interested in the services offered by the Masonic Outreach Program:

Masonic Outreach Program One Masonic Drive Elizabethtown, PA 17022 1-800-462-7664 outreach@masonicvillages.org www.masonicvillages.org/outreach If you want to be removed from our mailing list, please contact us and let us know.

In This Issue... GIVE A LITTLE, GET A LITTLE: ONE WIDOW’S STORY IS IT TIME TO UPDATE YOUR WILL? GREETINGS FROM LINDA JACKSON RESOURCE CORNER The Pennsylvania Masonic Widows’ Guild is in place to recognize, honor and support the widows of Pennsylvania Masons. If you have questions about the Widows’ Guild, or would like to become a member and receive your blue slipper pin, please call Relations Administrator Linda Jackson, at 1-800-599-6454.

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Blue Slipper Stories - October, 2020  

Blue Slipper Stories - October, 2020  

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