While many are using this unique time to reflect and evaluate, this may be an appropriate time to review existing life insurance policies.

Whether life insurance is for personal reasons, such as:
Family or income protection
Estate planning
Wealth accumulation
…or business purposes, funding:
Buy sell agreements
Key person protection
Succession planning
Deferred compensation programs
…policies should be regularly reviewed.

As life changes, coverage should be evaluated. Depending on when a policy was issued, needs may have changed. Here are some considerations:

How long? The need for coverage may be for a longer or shorter period than expected. A policy’s premium and benefit provisions should match the need. Changes can often be made.

How much? The amount of coverage needed may also be different than current values. There are ways to increase or decrease policy benefits. There are also formulas to assist in determining the appropriate amount of protection.

Analyzing policies for cost effectiveness could yield savings

Alternate ideas. Some policies have cash values. These policies tend to have higher premiums. Some clients have successfully used existing cash values to fund a new policy that may better suit current needs, while eliminating future premiums.

No longer needed. Maybe coverage is no longer needed. There are multiple options to consider. Cash values could be used to fund other sorts of insurance, like Long Term Care or annuities, while maintaining tax benefits. There also exists the opportunity to sell an existing insurance policy. Even term policies without cash may be valuable.

What else? Some policies, based on interest rate calculations, have under-performed and will not fulfill their promises. New policies with guarantees are available, and in many cases are less costly than older plans.

New coverage. Should new coverage be needed, many carriers are underwriting without the need for an in-person exam. This is especially relevant in these times.

Changes. Finally, you may want to review policy beneficiary and ownership designations.

Please contact us if you are interested in a review of your policies or have concerns related to you, your family or your business’ need for life insurance.

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Watch out for COVID-19 scams

Scammers are trying to get your private information while Americans are most vulnerable during the coronavirus pandemic. Protect yourself and your finances by learning how to spot these scams and report the fraudsters.

We’re seeing the following scams unfolding:

• Phishing emails claiming to be sent from national or global health authorities trying to trick victims into providing personal or payment information, often including an attachment containing malware.

• Criminals posing as government workers asking for Social Security, bank account or credit card numbers to “start the process for receiving the federal stimulus check.” We are also seeing a rise in fraudsters calling to ask for a personal address to send the stimulus check.

• People imitating healthcare workers or healthcare billing departments trying to collect money for “a loved one who has fallen ill with coronavirus, who doesn’t have funds for treatment.”

Scammers claiming to be from Falcon or other fraud monitoring tools inquiring about debit card transactions and then asking for personal information like Social Security number, date of birth or debit card PIN numbers.

• Government or healthcare workers will never reach out to you and ask for your Social Security number, bank account, credit card information, or personal address. The government will never ask you to pay anything up front to get a federal check or direct deposit, and hospitals would never call a relative to demand up-front money to treat their loved one.

Never hesitate to reach out to North Star if something seems fishy regarding any calls, letters or emails you receive about your North Star accounts.

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Reminder Regarding Financial Planning

North Star has Certified Financial Planners and Insurance Professionals on staff that can help guide you through financial issues and evaluate current and future goals appropriate to your situation or for a family member or friend.

Read more regarding financial planning in last weeks update: https://nsinvest.com/weekly-update-4-16-2020/

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