Here are five important legal and financial tips to help you best prepare for a local Coronavirus epidemic or quarantine:
- Make Sure Your Medical Power of Attorney Is Accessible. Completing your medical power of attorney where you formalized your wishes for your medical care was a great first step, but make sure it would be accessible if/when it’s needed. Make sure the person you appointed to make your medical decisions if you are seriously ill or incapacitated knows where you keep the document. Also, file a copy with your primary physician and local hospital so it’s already in the system well before it’s needed, thus avoiding delays or confusion. If you have minor children, make sure they have a medical power of attorney as well, something we include with every Kids Emergency Plan.
- Nominate Temporary Guardians for Minor Children. Most estate plans will include a provision in a parent’s will nominating permanent guardians to raise their children if the parent passes away. However, only some law firms offer a Nomination of Temporary Guardian form as well. Temporary guardians AKA first responders are 4-5 designated family members or friends who live within 20 minutes, who have legal permission to care for the children in an emergency scenario (thus significantly limiting the changes that the State would have to step in). If you have not named temporary guardians for your children, you need to contact your estate planning attorney right away.
- Make Sure You Have Enough Life Insurance. It surprises me as an estate planning attorney how many families are significantly uninsured. Having a life insurance policy only through your work is rarely enough to cover what your family would need if you were to pass away during your working years. Plus, sometimes there are limiting provisions in those work policies requiring the death be caused by an “accident” as opposed to an illness such as the Coronavirus. You need to know how much life insurance you have, and the exact death scenarios your policy covers. If you are not 100% certain that your existing insurance policies would cover your family’s needs, you can email me here and I can arrange for your existing life insurance policies to be reviewed by a trusted local life insurance professional.
- Have an Emergency Fund. A Coronavirus quarantine seems to typically last 2-3 week, which is a significant amount of time to lose out on a paycheck or have your business shut down. Beyond that, a mass quarantine would certainly affect our economy, causing residual effects to your finances over time. Most people do not have more than $1,000 in emergency funds, according to financial expert Suze Orman. She recommends that families save at least eight-months worth of living expenses in non-retirement/accessible financial accounts to be sufficiently prepared for any unexpected life event. For business owners, you also need to have enough financial reserves for your business as well.
- Make Sure Your Trust is Funded. Setting up an estate plan is a great first step to protecting your loved ones in an emergency, illness, or death, as it ensures that your loved ones would be financially, emotionally, and physically taken care of. However, too many people fail to property connect their assets to their trust. Your estate planning attorney can help you make sure that your bank accounts, brokerage accounts, business interests, life insurance policies, real properties, retirement accounts, and your other financial assets are all properly connected to your trust. Without completing this very important step, those assets left outside your trust could end up being subject to a probate proceeding, something families wished to avoid in the first place by setting up a trust.
While we can’t control a Coronavirus epidemic or quarantine from happening here, we can certainly help you be legally and financially prepared. Call your trusted Newport Beach Estate Planning attorneys today at the Meier Law Firm at (949) 718-0420 to get protected for any major life event. We recommend you start by scheduling a complimentary planning session with a member of our team, so we can show you what type of planning is best for your family’s specific needs, or to have your existing estate plan reviewed. If you are already a client of the Meier Law Firm, we invite you to call us at any time for help with your ongoing concerns or needs.
Josh and Laura Meier
p.s. You probably have family or friends who need to hear this important information. Please feel free to forward this email to them. We will take great care of the people you love.