Posts Tagged ‘trusts’

New Year’s Resolutions

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

According to the Chinese zodiac, 2010 is the Year of the Tiger.  No, not that Tiger.  However, that’s one person who definitely isn’t sad to say goodbye to 2009.  In fact, some economic professors have calculated that Tiger’s transgressions infidelity scandal may have cost the shareholders of the companies that he endorsed about $12 billion.  Yes, that’s with a “B.”  When you add that to the cost to his family and personal life, the amount, sadly, is even more.

While the beginning of the New Year is often a celebratory time, we often rattle off our resolutions like they’re part of our weekend chore list:  buy milk, lose weight, pick up dry cleaning, quit smoking, etc.  Perhaps we could get more excited about our resolutions if we spent just a little more time in developing them than, say, Tiger did before partying in Las Vegas. 

Besides the standard healthy lifestyle resolutions, there are other resolutions that you may want to consider from a legal perspective.  For example, in 2010, consider organizing your personal affair by updating your estate plans.  When was the last time you took a look at your will, trust, and advance directives?  Maybe you want to change the beneficiaries you’ve named in your will or insurance policies. And if you’ve never planned your estate before, now is good time because your mind is still sharp as a razor. Okay, maybe your razor is a bit rusty these days, but it still cuts, right?

Also, organizing one’s internal affairs is not limited to individuals.  Employers can get their business affairs in order by proactively conducting an employment audit to identify risky or illegal employment practices.  For example, an employment audit may reveal that your business has neglected to update job descriptions, train managers and supervisors on employment laws, or provide employees with written policies and procedures in an employee handbook. 

Even if a handbook exists, it should be updated annually to reflect changes in the law or policies.  For instance, with the iPhone, Droid, and other gadgets, employees are able to post messages, photos, and videos 24/7 on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, MySpace, YouTube, or on their blog.  Are employees disparaging the company on their blog or posting unflattering videos of a tipsy supervisor from the holiday party?  Employers should consider developing an internet posting policy before sticky situations develop. 

The bottom line is that in our highly litigious society, a little preventative maintenance, in the form of  carefully crafted New Year’s resolutions, can go a long way to improving your bottom line—physically and financially.  That is, if you stick with them.