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10 Things to do During Self-Quarantine
Friday, 20 March 2020 12:58

If you are staying home, there are other things that you can do besides binge watch Netflix.

  1. Review your life insurance beneficiary designations. Have you divorced? Re-married? Have you added children and grandchildren to your family? It's always a good idea to review your beneficiary designations at least once a year, OR when there's been a significant change in your life, such as marriage, divorce, death in the family, etc. Make sure you have a contingent beneficiary named.
  2. Review your life insurance owner designations. Do you own life insurance on someone else's life, like a spouse, ex-spouse, child, grandchild, or other family members? Make sure you have designated a contingent owner so that if you pre-decease the insured there will be a new owner without having to probate the policies you own. The need for a contingent owner also applies to some annuities, if you own an annuity and the annuitant is someone else, like a spouse or child.
  3. Review your retirement plan beneficiary designations, be they an IRA, 401(k), 403(b), 457 plan, pension, or annuity. Just like with life insurance, if there's been a change in your situation, such as marriage, divorce, death in the family, new children and grandchildren, you should make sure that your beneficiary designations reflect your desires so that you don't disinherit someone you want to take care of while enriching someone you no longer want to receive what you leave behind. This is particularly important with regards to employer-sponsored retirement plans where federal law has rules that can really mess up an estate that's not properly planned.
  4. Review your bank accounts and securities brokerage accounts to make sure they have a proper Transfer On Death designation that reflects your estate planning goals.
  5. Do you have a budget? This is a good time to sit down and make sure it's current. Most of my bills have changed over time, so I try to review mine on a regular basis. So should you. Especially during a time when supplies may be in short supply and prices may rise. Keep some cash on hand. Real cash.
  6. Do you have a Last Will and Testament? Is it current? Do you need to make some changes due to a change in your family and financial situation? Does your family and/or executor know where this document is?
  7. Do you have a Living Will, Advance Directive, Medical Power of Attorney, or Out-of-Hospital Do-Not-Resuscitate Order? Are they current? Does your family or caregiver know where these documents are?
  8. Review your Disability Income Insurance. Do you have enough coverage? Some individual policies pay a benefit to survivors and that benefit requires a beneficiary designation. Make sure that beneficiary designation names the person you want to receive those funds. This also applies to some Long Term Care insurance policies, as well as Critical Illness insurance policies, that have a death benefit, or return of premium upon death.
  9. Review your savings and investments for retirement. The market has been volatile due to recent events. Don't ignore your asset allocation. Talk to your investment advisor or registered representative. If they ignore you during this time, then it's a good idea to start shopping for more proactive help.
  10. Have a Contingency Plan! If your electricity and/or water were turned off, if cell-phone service, cable TV, or internet service were interrupted, if self-quarantine and shelter-in-place suggestions become orders, or worse, we are placed under Martial Law, what would you and your family do? Can you boil water or cook food without electricity or natural gas? Do you have a supply of potable water? Do you have non-perishable food to last for a week or two without a freezer or refrigerator? If you become disconnected from your family, do you have a plan on where to meet somewhere other than your home, if your home were to become unsafe or uninhabitable? If you had to leave your home today, do you have a Bug Out Bag ready to go at a moment's notice? For example, a fire, flood, or riot that causes you to flee your home for safety somewhere else, then you need a Bug Out Bag. A backpack with a change of clothes, extra socks and underwear, basic toiletries, a bottle of water, some high energy snacks and candy, a first aid kit, a poncho, an emergency blanket, and the tools for your self-defense that you deem appropriate.

If you need help, if you have questions, call me today (800) 680-5596.

 

Brent D. Gardner, CLU, ChFC