Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, March 7, 2020

MVNews this week:  Page 6



Mountain View News Saturday, March 7, 2020 



I’ve always believed “the buck stops here” regarding protecting and providing for my family, no 
matter what. They are my responsibility, period. One of the ways that feeling manifests itself in 
me is that I’ve always had a stockpile of supplies, food, and water to last my family for months if 
normal services and goods aren’t available for whatever reason. My wife’s continually given me 
a hard time about the corner of the garage dedicated toward that endeavor until this weekend 
when she abruptly asked, “do we have enough food and water to get us through a quarantine if 
that happens?” I smiled, smugly, and responded, “we’re good; we’ll be okay.”

But while much of the focus has been on how to prevent catching the Coronavirus, or what to 
stock up on to survive if the pandemic wallops the U.S. like it has elsewhere, little has been mentioned on how to best legally and 
financially prepare for such a scenario. We know from what’s happening abroad that national economies as well as individual 
families are taking big financial hits in lost wages, not to mention the medical nightmare many people find themselves in. While 
panic and overreaction do more harm than good, I’m a big believer that you should always have your eyes wide open and ensure 
your family is prepared for these kinds of possibilities.

Here are five important tips to help you best prepare for the legal and financial aspects of a local Coronavirus epidemic or 

1. 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 care physician so it’s available through that avenue 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 Child Protection Plan.
2. 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, few law firms offer a Nomination of 
Temporary Guardian form as well. Temporary guardians (AKA first responders) are 3-4 designated family members or friends 
who live within 20 minutes and have legal permission to care for your children in an emergency scenario (thus significantly 
limiting the chances that the State would have to step in). If you have not named temporary guardians for your children, you 
should contact your estate planning attorney right away.
3. Make Sure You Have Enough Life Insurance. In my role as an estate planner, it surprises me how many families are 
either uninsured or considerably underinsured. Having a lone life insurance policy through your employer 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 should arrange for your existing life insurance 
policies to be reviewed by a trusted life insurance professional. Ask me for a referral if you don’t already have a trusted advisor 
in your corner.
4. Have an Emergency Fund. A Coronavirus quarantine is likely to 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 overall 
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.
5. 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 properly transfer their assets to their trust. Your estate planning attorney should 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 are subject to probate proceedings.

While individually, none of us can control a Coronavirus epidemic or quarantine from happening here, we can certainly make 
sure our families are legally and financially prepared. Call your trusted advisor or start by scheduling a complimentary planning 
session with a member of our team if you are not yet prepared, or to have your existing estate plan reviewed to ensure it has you 
as prepared as you should be.

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 lovemost. His office is located at 55 Auburn Avenue, Sierra Madre, CA 91024. Schedule anappointment to sit 
down and talk about ensuring a legacy of love and financial security for yourfamily by calling 626.355.4000 or visit for more 

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