The COVID-19 pandemic has provided an extreme example of the importance of preparing for the unexpected. Many people have realized just how necessary it is to have an estate plan in place – rushing to create wills, advance directives, and powers of attorney in fear of falling ill. While it seems like we have learned a vital lesson from the pandemic, will we remember the importance of planning ahead once life returns to business as usual?
Unexpected medical and financial emergencies can happen even in the absence of a global pandemic. For those who did establish an estate plan during the pandemic, will you remember to revisit your documents following important life changes? For those who did not, when will be the right time to get a plan in place? Here are three lessons learned from the pandemic to remember even after life goes back to normal.
You need an estate plan – no ifs, ands, or buts.
Estate planning is essential for all adults, regardless of age, health, marital status, or financial situation. Medical, financial, and legal emergencies can happen to anyone, at any time, in any stage of life. In the absence of the pandemic, it will be even easier to tell yourself that an estate plan can wait. Not only is this type of thinking incorrect, but it can also have serious consequences. Without a valid estate plan, there is no way to ensure that your loved ones will be protected when you’re gone or that someone you trust will be making important decisions on your behalf when you can’t do so yourself.
You need to update your estate plan.
Estate plans must be reviewed and updated in light of significant life changes – such as marriage, divorce, death, and new parenthood – to ensure that your plan reflects your new circumstances and values. For example, if a guardianship plan was created prior to divorce, your child’s appointed guardian may be someone who was chosen by your former spouse. You may no longer be comfortable with this plan after the divorce. Undesirable consequences can be avoided by periodically revisiting your estate planning documents.
You need a plan for your business.
Without a valid estate plan, there is no guarantee that your business will operate according to your wishes when you are no longer in command. If you die without having a plan in place, all assets and property related to your business will be divided up by the court. This can result in a loss of income for family members or loss of the business entirely. Fortunately, a business succession plan is a valuable estate planning tool that allows you to determine whether your business is to be sold, liquidated, or kept in the family, as well as allows you to name a new leader for the company.
As the end of summer approaches, remote employees are beginning to experience new challenges. For working parents in particular, there is likely too much of an overlap of their home and work lives due to the implementation of virtual learning by universities and school systems and the suspension of services by childcare providers. The presence of family members, roommates, and even pets in the remote workspace can be overwhelming for all types of remote workers. Luckily, there are a few tips for surviving remote work that employees can follow.
Anticipate and plan
Planning out each work and family-related task for the day in advance can ensure that all work expectations are met. Family-related tasks can sometimes take more time than you originally anticipated, and therefore should not be dealt with as they come up. Block time for work, and try to incorporate family-related tasks into your breaks. You may even want to consider getting your children on a schedule that corresponds to your work hours. For example, your children can do schoolwork or have TV time at a set time each day.
Be upfront with your boss and team
Meeting expectations at work, while also taking care of young children can be overwhelming. Communicate your circumstances with your boss and team members, and address the aspects of your job that may be impacted. Realistically evaluate the tasks that you can commit to and complete on time. Be careful not to underestimate the amount of time that family-related interruptions will take from your day. This will help you and your employer to address potential issues before they arise.
Communicate with family members and roommates
Open communication is the best way to combat tension between you and the people sharing your remote workspace. Talk to your partner about who will take on certain childcare or home tasks, and explain to family members that just because you are home, you are not necessarily free to give your undivided attention. Share your schedule with your roommates so that they know your work hours, and be clear about your expectations for your shared work environment. For example, you can establish a set of mutually agreed-upon rules for noise, guests, pet care, and sharing technology during work hours.
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