- posted: Apr. 01, 2020
I don't care what the politically correct term is, "Shelter-in-place," "Stay-at-Home" or "Socially Distancing." The fact is most of us are at home now more than usual..
So just like the Dentist wants you to brush and floss and the minister wants you to pray (and send money), I thought you might like some legal-related activities during your family downtime. This oughta get you started:
1. Take that spiffy, underutilized smartphone of yours and, room by room, photo and label all your appliances and possessions of value. You will thank yourself if you ever have to make a burglary or fire insurance claim. In fact, once you do that, knock it down to your Ipad or Laptop and store it in the cloud, on a thumb drive or an SSD card. Put it in your Safe Deposit Box at the bank, when the banks open back up.
2. Take a couple of hours with your spouse or S O and locate all the life insurance policies, HCPOA's, Advanced Directives, regular POA's and Wills (with Trusts where applicable). First, each of you should make sure the document still does what you want it to do. Second, each of you should be able to put hands on your own and the other's documents in thirty seconds if the smoke detector goes off;
3 Speaking of Smoke and CO detectors, check the batteries. Sure, you meant to check them at the Equinox but.....alkaline batteries....I know. Just do it now. When you're spending more time in the house, it's that much more important to keep the old homestead safe;
4. If you're a veteran, make sure you can find a copy of your DD214. More important, make sure your spouse or S.O. can find it. If you have your original, put on your reminder list to record it at the County Recorders Office. Then it's never lost.
5. If you're an empty-nester, start setting aside things you want to gift your kids. Maybe start prioritizing them for earlier delivery, while both you and the adult child are still alive. Maybe Skype/FT about it so they know why it's meaningful to you and should be for them;
6. Pull out your Homeowner's Policy and read what it covers. You might find that your $200K is covered to $50K in the event of a tornado. Never mind the "legalese." Just read the numbers and words like "repair" and "replacement" in the definitions section.
7. Now Pull out your Auto insurance card. Look at the limits. If your "liability" or "public liability" is not at least $500,000, call your agent and buy more (liability is cheap); Look at the deductible on your "Collision" coverage. The higher the deductible, the lower the premium, generally. $100.00 might be a luxury. $1000 might be too much to swallow. Ask your insurance dude to quote you $500, see if it saves you some money.. Make sure you have both "Uninsured" and "Underinsured". Finally, make sure you are comfortable with your Property Damage figure. Since, even pretty marginal cars roll out at $50k these days, if your Property damage is 40K or below, you might want to consider boosting that, even if you don't plan on driving through a retail store and into a shopping mall like the blues brothers. There is no better time than now to see that you are comfortably insured.
8. Next, Pull out your whole wallet/purse and dump every card and document onto a clean, flat surface. First, make sure the important ones (FOID is a biggie) are not expired. This includes credit cards. Are they all still relevant? Ditch the ones that aren't. Before you put them away, use a scanner app and file cabinet app on your smartphone and record them all into your phone. Handiest one of these is the free version of Evernote and it's cousin "Scannable" (both free) but OneNote works fine and Google Keeps is solid. Do keep 'em in PDF. It's impossible to do much with a .jpg.
9. Go to wherever you store keys. Sort out the ones you do not recognize and do not use (we all have 'em). If you don't want to just chuck them, put them in a small box or sandwich bag and store them away from the relevant keys. You just avoided the opportunity for some kind of annoying mistake later.
That's enough for today. We'll talk about your electonics later.