There’s no denying that what we are all experiencing right now is certainly uncharted territory and unlike anything any of us have ever gone through. And, while the news reports and uncertainty that we may be surrounded by right now may create a lot of stress and concern, what I will say is that I do think that there’s a lot of silver linings and positive lessons to be learned from all of this right now. Here are just a few things that I think this whole COVID-19 crisis has brought to light (at least for me and possibly for some of you!).
The Importance of Having a Disaster Plan.
Every few months or so, Phil would always randomly call our office manager and say, “Do we have a disaster plan in place?” We would kind of laugh or tease him about it and tell him that the plan was to run out of the office as quickly as possible and get up the hill. Well, this isn’t quite the same as the earthquake/tsunami plan we had in mind when asked to put together our disaster plan. When Los Angeles issued its stay-at-home orders, we had all but a day to come up with an action plan for our company, as well as Phil’s law practice. I am thankful that we had the ability to allow all employees to work from home, but there are a number of practices that I know of that would absolutely crumble in such a short time-frame to be told to just up and move and conduct business remotely. For those readers not in areas with stay-at-home orders, be forewarned that it may come soon and, if you haven’t already, it’s time to figure out what that plan of action will be when and if those orders are issued. Whether it’s your home or business, nobody can be prepared enough for “what could happen”.
Now is the Time to Show How REALLY Smart You Are!
While the crisis is certainly bringing a level of awareness to estate planning for people of all ages and classes, it is certainly not the time to completely take advantage of the situation either. I was on a call with a group of attorneys this past week and I thought one of the greatest “golden nuggets” that was shared was about how the rule of thumb right now should be that you should not be taking on cases that can potentially come back to bite you. Those are the cases where suddenly the prospective client wants to leave 100% of their estate to the caregivers or where you’ve got someone who previously set up a plan to give equal shares and suddenly wants to disinherit or change percentages. While potentially faced with getting ill or passing away, folks may certainly have a change of heart and want to legitimately make these changes. As a smart estate planner, walk away from these cases! To make these during such a time right now where you might have to meet with clients virtually and be unable to really confirm capacity and that there’s no undue influence, you are simply better off from telling them that you cannot assist them with this at this time. This is where your common sense will do you a lot more good!
Try to Keep Some Form of Routine.
In a world that seems a bit chaotic, I cannot stress the importance of trying to keep some form of routine and normalcy to your life. Whether you’re working from home or not, there are things that you can do to try and keep some kind of routine. Here’s a few things that I’ve personally been doing to keep routine:
- Getting up at the same time (yes, I’m still getting up at 5:30am!).
- Use that early rise that you might not need to sit in traffic to do something for YOU! Before this crisis, the most common excuse for most folks from being able to do a lot of things they either wanted or needed to do was a lack of time. Well, now you have it! So use this time to do something for you. It could be getting a work out in, cooking, journaling, reading, crafting, meditation, writing that book you always wanted to. Whatever it may be. Use that time for you.
- Shower and get dressed. I know this might seem like an obvious one, but a lot of work-from-home employees tout this as a must-do for productivity and just feeling better about yourself. Sure, doing work in your sweats and PJ’s sounds pretty relaxing and fun too, but that will get old quick. Perhaps you don’t need to do the whole suit and tie thing, but there will be something about getting showered and dressed for success!
- Be sure to eat regularly (you know, breakfast, lunch, dinner and possibly some snacks). And, a really important tip here, try and use this time to sit down at the dinner table with your family and reconnect. I was living in a studio apartment for a few years and I really missed sitting down at the dinner table for meals. I just moved into a one-bedroom and being able to cook and sit down and enjoy a meal at the dinner table with my family has brought me a great deal of joy through all of this!
In a Time of Social Distancing, Connect More than Ever!
I don’t know about you guys, but even though I’m unable to go to Disneyland, workout with my friends, or play basketball on the weekends, I have actually found myself even more connected than ever with my loved ones and even my coworkers. This whole crisis has united people in new ways. I take the time to call, text, FaceTime, and even do virtual happy hours and trivia nights on Zoom with those I care about. Same with your business. Connect with your clients, staff, referral sources, third-party vendors, etc. Many people are in need of connection right now. Not being able to leave the home or interact face-to-face with other human beings can take its toll on anyone after a while. But, it can be done safely and in a way that’s both socially responsible, but also still effective and needed now more than ever before to help get through this!
BONUS: I’ve even taken up trying to send one hand-written card to drop in the mail each day to send a friendly note to people I care about to let them know that I’m thinking about them!
No Better Time to Work on Yourself and Your Business.
To dovetail my point earlier about waking up early and keeping a routine, there’s really no better time than right now to find ways to take care of yourself and your business. This pandemic has certainly brought to light an awareness of our health and wellness. Many of our long-time clients know this, but I have spent the last 8 years or so working on my health and wellness. I am grateful for picking that up prior to this crisis, but this crisis doesn’t mean I can just let focus for myself go. And now, it’s more important than ever. And, while you’re also thinking of ways for self-improvement (whether it’s health, weight loss, diet, fitness, or some new skill you’ve always wanted to learn), what about your practice? While you might not be as busy working in your business, it’s the perfect time to be working on it.
We hear from people all the time that they know they need the practice-development stuff that we have to offer, but they simply don’t have the time to get to it. Well, right now, I think this whole crisis has forced us all to slow down a bit and we’ve got the time now. So, what are you going to do to better yourself and your business?
RELATED EDUCATION & TRAINING
In order to accommodate the current uncertainty, our next Ultimate Level event will be held virtually and from the safety and convenience of your own home or office. The program will run from 8am to 12:30pm Pacific Time on Thursday, April 30th, Friday, May 1st and Saturday, May 2nd. We have a monthly payment options to also accommodate your needs. For more information and details, click here.
We hope that you’ll join us!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kristina Schneider is the current Executive Director of The Ultimate Estate Planner, Inc. She graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine University in 2004 and was hired right out of college to work for the Law Firm of Kavesh, Minor & Otis, coordinating and facilitating Philip Kavesh’s “Missing Link” Boot Camps while also providing administrative support to Mr. Kavesh as his Executive Assistant for over seven years. Through her direct hands-on experience in Mr. Kavesh’s law firm, Kristina has been able to assist numerous estate planning professionals through The Ultimate Estate Planner and, equally as important, many of their staff members, in the successful implementation of Ultimate Estate Planner’s products and systems. You can reach Kristina at (424) 247-9495 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.