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coronavirus business practices

Best Business Practices During the Coronavirus Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has challenged everyone worldwide. Owners of small businesses have faced threats to their survival no one anticipated or planned for. As our businesses begin to re-open and go back to work what best practices should business owners and managers deploy?

If you have access to HR personnel or services then rely on that expertise. Their expertise is critical in developing your re-opening policies for both employees and customers. Depending on which county your business is in rules which govern your re-opening will vary. Businesses with locations in different counties will be subject to different rules from one county to the next.

Make sure the guidelines you develop for your business are clear and in writing. Make sure your guidelines fully align and comply with the jurisdictions in which your business operates. Having your guidelines comply with your applicable jurisdiction is critical to maintaining compliance with legal rules and regulations and in promoting confidence of your employees and customers.

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For companies lacking access to HR expertise, it may be available to you through the company that administers your payroll, your liability insurance policy, your employee benefits plan or your unemployment insurance program. Should you have none of those, than your local chamber of commerce may also be of assistance. Making use of available resources is always a good business practice.

One source to avoid is social media. Should you face a lawsuit or enforcement action concerning your re-opening or safety practices, you will have no success in claiming that your “plan” was something you read about on social media.

Speaking of social media some businesses are announcing their intention to NOT comply with guidelines issued by any government authority. This is always a bad business practice as it ensures you will lose any enforcement action and is proven to lose you customers and your business reputation. Any money you believe you might make by breaking the law will be a tiny fraction of the money you are guaranteed to lose by breaking the law and flaunting it on social media. Defiance and criminal behavior will bring your business the following costs:

Loss of public trust. The public will always suspect your business may be breaking other laws. Building public trust and confidence is important to any business and is always difficult to regain.

Loss of credibility. There is no truth in business that “everyone loves a rebel.” Businesses, customers and the public look for predictability, consistency, steadfastness and trust. Don’t do things to break those down.

Loss of insurance coverages. In our lawsuit happy world you want to do everything you can to make sure your insurance coverages will actually cover the business should you be sued. Breaking the law will lead to refusal to cover or defend or the possible termination of your insurance.

Regulatory, compliance and defense costs. There is an old business adage: “Nothing will burn up cash faster than defending against the government, compliance complaints and lawsuits.”

We wish your business continued health and success as we navigate the stormy seas of these unprecedented times. We hope that these business practices also help you in moving forward.

How Estate Planning Helps Fight COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is on everyone’s mind and you can’t turn on the television without being reminded. Did you know that your trust and estate attorney has tools that help to protect you and your family? Estate law firms use these tools every day to protect clients and the tools can be very helpful during these stressful times.

HIPAA Compliance
Be HIPAA Compliant!

As a wills and estate attorney making these solutions available to clients is critical to the work of estate law firms. What are these tools and how can they help you?

Your first step should be to ensure all of your estate planning documents are HIPAA compliant. This is critical for powers of attorney, medical directives and all health care documents. You should also have a stand alone HIPAA Authorization.

HIPAA compliance is of utmost importance during any medical situation especially emergencies. The reason you create these documents is so the decision makers you choose are recognized in case of any emergency. This is even more important for any of your children over the age of 18 in order for you to have access to them in case of emergencies and guide their care.

Make sure your plan consists of the following basic components:

  1. A testamentary documents such as a trust or will.
  2. Durable financial power of attorney.
  3. Durable health care power of attorney.
  4. HIPAA Authorization.
  5. Living Will.
  6. Funeral instructions such as Colorado’s final disposition statement.
  7. Make sure ALL documents are HIPAA compliant.

Remember this is the basic list and your particular situation may require additional documents and planning. Be careful out there, be vigilant wash your hands and we will all get through this together.

The Gift of Estate Planning

HIPAA Compliance

Many articles have been published about the gift of estate planning. In fact, it is one of the most important gifts you can give to your family and loved ones. A well crafted estate plan represents part of your legacy and how you will be remembered. How you would like to be remembered when you are gone and does your estate plan reflect those wishes?

Why can estate planning be such important gift for your family? Consider these benefits your family receives from your well thought out plan:

1. Protection for your spouse from creditors and predators. Are you leaving a plan which exposes your spouse to risk or protects them?

2. Protection of children from the over indulgence of youth, protection from creditors and protection against predators. Does your plan for your children provide these protections?

3. Inclusion of grandchildren or other family members who are disabled. Such issues should be considered in every plan. Are they addressed i yours?

4. Asset and probate planning. Do your assets create problems and are these issues addressed in your estate plan?

5. HIPAA compliance. Protection of your health information is important in our electronic age. Is your entire plan and all documents HIPAA compliant? If not it needs to be.

6. How recently have your reviewed your plan? Plans older than 5-7 years may create unexpected traps and negative results for your family. Has your plan been reviewed recently?

Does your current plan provide these benefits to your family? Now you know why estate planning is one of the best gifts for your family not only at the holiday season but also year round.

DIY Estate Planning is Hazardous to Your Family and Property

Decades before LegalZoom existed, DIY estate planning did. It’s no better today than ever due to mis-information on the internet and the desire of people to avoid lawyers. Here are several reasons (among many) to avoid harming yourself and family with a DIY plan.

DIY Planning is more expensive than working with an estate planning specialist.

When you factor in the separate charges that all DIY solutions charge per document, no DIY solution can price match a real estate plan. Remember that DIY planning is not real planning. You are substituting someone else’s document for your own. There is no design or drafting particular to your family. How can it make sense to pay more and get less? It doesn’t.

DIY plans are traps for the unwary consumer.

All DIY plans share this trait: they are not tailored for you. They are designed to apply to a wide swath of people none of who are you! This is true of all online planning documents. Remember none of these are prepared for you by a qualified estate planning specialist.

A current example is that almost every DIY plan is NOT HIPAA compliant. If the plan or any of your documents are not HIPAA compliant your plan will fail.

You are responsible for yourself and family. You will make the decision. Should you pay more to get less or even faulty documents that don’t work? Our recommendation is to properly protect yourself and family by working with a qualified estate planning specialist attorney or lawyer on your estate planning, will, trust and other documents.

We help families succeed. Call us today at 303-688-3535 to learn more.