Some of us experienced little difference in our lives during the quarantine because our lives were already rather insulated from other people. However, many of us have tried to use the quarantine to re-center our lives. For some people, the quarantine has been a time of reflection and self-analysis, particularly for those of us who have known or lost a loved one who contracted the virus.
Our economy is now set to begin to awaken from its hibernation as the quarantine lifts (albeit gradually). Regardless of whether we or our employers were classified as essential or non-essential during the quarantine, each of us will now experience new routines.
We do not need a quarantine or its lifting to make changes in our lives. However, these circumstances present an ideal time to implement improvements. I personally have encouraged clients to consider four perspectives during this time of renewal/change. These four perspectives save us time and money and avoid unnecessary legal issues.
First, we can deepen our faith in God. Particularly people who are a part of organized religion can feel lost when a touchstone of their faith (their church life) is modified. We can fall away or fall toward faith during times of change. I recommend falling toward faith.
Second, we can change our methods and timing of communicating our love and affection of others. Being able to meet a friend for a meal or tease family members in person were taken from us during the quarantine. This time presents a chance to improve the frequency and methods of communication with loved ones.
Third, we can prepare for life’s inevitabilities, including our own potential incapacity and death. Specifically, we can and should ensure that our powers of attorney and wills are updated.
Regardless of having or not having the virus, if we become unable to handle our own affairs, a properly prepared financial power of attorney can allow (and is the only way to allow, outside of a formal guardianship proceeding) loved ones to secure our share of whatever government resources (grants, low-interest loans, Medicaid, etc.) that may be available to help our families pay bills and survive financially.
During the quarantine, many people passed away without having completed their estate planning. It is heartbreaking for us attorneys to meet with surviving loved ones who are already grieving to gently update them that a lack of preparation by their loved ones will unnecessarily cost the survivors thousands of dollars that could have been avoided with even basic estate planning.
Fourth, we can be more patient. Prior to the quarantine, many of us expected near perfection in the goods and services we purchased. During this transition, restaurants will inevitably be unable to fill orders for some things that have been advertised as available. Service businesses will also face uncertain and inconsistent demand that will mean that there will be some imperfections and unavailability in their services. Patience (of others and ourselves) is also crucial in times of change like the present time.
Lee R. Schroeder is an Ohio licensed attorney at Schroeder Law LLC in Putnam County. He limits his practice to business, real estate, estate planning and agriculture issues in northwest Ohio. He can be reached at Lee@LeeSchroeder.com or at 419-659-2058. This article is not intended to serve as legal advice, and specific advice should be sought from the licensed attorney of your choice based upon the specific facts and circumstances that you face.