Doré Rothberg McKay. - September 2022

THE

DORELAW.COM

SEPTEMBER 2022

ESTATE PLANNING: THE BASICS

WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF AN ESTATE PLAN?

be distributed upon death. Without a Last Will and Testament, the decedent’s assets are distributed according to state intestacy laws, which may not distribute the decedent’s estate according to their wishes. In a Last Will and Testament, a person may (i) name an executor, who will carry out the wishes detailed in the Will; (ii) name beneficiaries, the recipients of the person’s assets, and (iii) describe how the person wishes their assets to be distributed.

An estate plan allows an individual or a couple to plan for death and incapacity, setting out wishes as to who should be responsible for making certain decisions in the event of incapacity as well as how assets should be distributed in the event of death. A Last Will and Testament is the most common estate planning document people prepare. It declares how an individual’s assets should be distributed upon death. However, a few more documents can be included in a complete estate plan that allow an individual or a couple to avoid expensive and lengthy court involvement. Some of the documents are used only in the event of a person’s legal or medical incapacity to make their own decisions, which has become more common as we live longer, develop dementia, or have medical conditions where we are medicated or not conscious. WHAT DOES A COMPLETE ESTATE PLAN INCLUDE? 1. Last Will and Testament 2. Statutory Durable Power of Attorney 3. Medical Power of Attorney 4. Directive to Physicians 5. Designation of Guardian for Minor Children 6. Declaration of Guardian 7. HIPAA Release WHAT DO EACH OF THESE DOCUMENTS PROVIDE? 1. Last Will and Testament A Last Will and Testament allows a person to detail how their assets should

In Texas, the probate laws are very favorable and avoid legal expense and delays if you have a properly prepared and executed Will. A few of the critical things for each Will to include are the following:

updated beneficiaries named. Non-probate assets will pass directly to the persons you have named in documents other than your Will. Examples include insurance, retirement accounts, and investment or bank accounts with survivorship or co-owners. It is common for people to forget to update these beneficiary documents as circumstances change with divorce, deaths, or just time. 2. Statutory Durable Power of Attorney (SDPOA) The SDPOA is commonly known as a Financial Power of Attorney. This document allows an individual, called the principal, to appoint an agent to act in their place, making decisions related to finances, property, and investments in the event the principal is CONTINUED ON PAGE 2 ...

Name an independent executor and ask for independent administration without court supervision or bond Be signed by two witnesses, including a self-proving affidavit Designate any specific gifts and dispose of all the remainder of your estate property Name your spouse and each child with specifics of what property they are to receive, if any

It is also important to make certain non- probate property has the correct and

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unable to act for themself. A Durable Power of Attorney is one that either takes effect upon or lasts after the principal’s incapacitation. An ordinary Power of Attorney document automatically terminates if the principal becomes incapacitated. The principal may choose whether they want the SDPOA to (i) take effect immediately and continue after incapacity or (ii) take effect only when you become unable to handle your own affairs. The SDPOA is useful in circumstances where the principal is unable to take care of important financial- or property-related matters such as paying bills, managing investments, or acquiring or transferring property. By having a SDPOA in place, the principal’s agent has authority to tend to such matters. 3. Medical Power of Attorney (MPOA) The Medical Power of Attorney is similar to the SDPOA, except that the MPOA allows the appointed agent to make decisions related to the principal’s medical care. A second important difference is that the agent is only tasked with making medical decisions for the principal when the principal is in an incapacitated state, unable to make their own decisions. When arranging for the care of the principal, the appointed agent is legally bound to follow the principal’s treatment preferences to the extent the agent knows about them. If you fail to execute a MPOA, the doctors and the hospital may manage your care without regard to what you or your family wish. 4. Directive to Physicians The Directive to Physicians is also commonly known as a Living Will. This document allows an individual to manage their own end-of-life care, not relying on the choices of health care providers or family that may have different wishes. Through a Directive to Physicians, a person states whether they wish to remain on life support or if they wish to be kept comfortable while life-sustaining care is withheld or withdrawn. This decision is made with regard to two separate circumstances: (i) in the event of an irreversible condition or (ii) in the event of a terminal condition.

5. Designation of Guardian of Minor Children The Designation of Guardian allows an individual to designate who they would like the court to appoint as the guardian of their minor children in the event of incapacity. While it is not legally binding on the court, it can be used to communicate a person’s wishes with respect to whom they want to assume responsibility for their minor children, and courts historically give great weight to the person(s) you name. 6. Declaration of Guardian A Declaration of Guardian allows an individual to communicate who they wish to be appointed as their own guardian in the event of your own incapacity. Again, the court will make the final decision based upon a finding of your best interests and the ability of the guardian to do the job, but the person you name will usually be given first consideration. 7. HIPAA Release The HIPAA Release is a document many are familiar with, as most health care providers require its completion prior to receiving treatment. The document gives a person’s health care providers the authority to release otherwise private, protected health information to the individuals listed on the release. Without a HIPAA Release executed by you, your family may not be able to learn details of your condition and treatment. As detailed above, a complete and properly drafted estate plan allows individuals and couples the opportunity to plan for circumstances all of us will eventually face, granting a sense of relief and security knowing our wishes are known. Disagreements among family members and heirs over what you intended are minimized when you and the rest of your family have the right documents in place. Like most things in life, a failure to plan is a plan for failure, leaving your family with lengthy, expensive, and often no legal choices at critical times. Documenting your estate plan is not expensive and is well worth the time it takes to prepare it.

Importantly, having this document in place takes the burden of making such decisions away from your loved ones at the most difficult time.

-Caroline Muldowny

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THE KEY TO BETTER RETENTION IS GREAT CUSTOMER SERVICE

It would be hard to find a company claiming not to care about customer service. But actions speak louder than words, and many business horror stories involve poor customer service experiences. So, how do you improve your company's customer service to increase your retention rate? BUT FIRST, WHY IS CUSTOMER SERVICE SO IMPORTANT? Excellent customer service increases your customer lifetime value (CLV), and Help Scout found that 89% of customers say that good customer service led them to make additional purchases. Other consumers mentioned that great service turned them from one-time clients into loyal, recurring customers. According to SuperOffice, after surveying 1,920 business professionals, 46% stated that improving customer service is their top priority. But how can you improve this service effectively to better serve customers? STRENGTHEN YOUR TEAM. Improving customer service all begins with your team. You want employees to

develop five main skills to enhance the customers’ experiences: empathy, patience, communication, listening, and knowledge. You can organize training sessions to help your employees improve their skills and provide resources so they can easily navigate customer problems. For example, record customer interactions and point out which tactics work and don’t work in a situation. ENCOURAGE CUSTOMER FEEDBACK. To provide excellent customer service, you first need to know what you can improve on. To do this, ask consumers how they think and feel about the service you're providing them. You’ll get a chance to understand their needs, experiences, and pain points and create a model to enhance and strengthen those areas. You can request reviews and testimonials by telephone or email surveys. You could also incorporate a complaint page or feedback system on your website. Requesting feedback lets your customers know you value them, are willing to improve, and want to resolve their issues. It will help establish trust and may

prevent them from voicing their concerns or negative comments on social media.

USE MULTICHANNEL SERVICING. Providing multiple channels to assist

customers with their questions and concerns can help boost your brand’s reputation and credibility. One way to achieve this is by using social media. It’s a great tool because many customers turn to social media for queries and complaints. Have a team in charge of checking your company's social platforms so questions can be easily answered and problems will be resolved promptly. Monitoring mentions of your company and reaching out to your customers first, instead of them reaching out to you, shows that you care about their experience and want to provide effective solutions in any outlet. Keeping your customers happy should be more important to your business than anything else. If they are satisfied with your customer service, they will continue to use your company!

BRAIN BREAK

FROZEN MOCHA TORTE

As summer slips away from our grasp, enjoy one last refreshing hurrah with this sophisticated frozen treat.

INGREDIENTS • 1 cup chocolate wafer crumbs • 1/4 cup sugar

• 2/3 cup chocolate syrup • 2 tbsp instant coffee granules • 1 tbsp hot water • 1 cup heavy cream, whipped • Chocolate-covered coffee beans (optional)

• 1/4 cup butter, melted • 1 8-oz package cream cheese, softened • 1 14-oz can sweetened condensed milk

DIRECTIONS 1. In a small bowl, combine the wafer crumbs, sugar, and butter. 2. In a greased 9-inch pan, add the wafer mixture and press to the bottom. 3. In a large bowl, beat the cream cheese, sweetened condensed milk, and chocolate syrup until smooth. 4. In a separate dish or cup, dissolve coffee granules in hot water. Once combined, add to the cream cheese mixture and fold in whipped cream. 5. Pour mixture evenly over the crust. Cover and freeze for 8 hours or overnight. 6. Remove from the freezer 10–15 minutes before serving. Garnish with chocolate-covered coffee beans if desired.

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Basics of Estate Planning

Basics of Estate Planning (cont'd)

3 Tips to Improve Customer Service

Frozen Mocha Torte

3 Strategies for Value-Based Selling

VALUE-BASED SELLING IS AN UNDERUSED TACTIC

HOW CAN YOU USE IT IN YOUR BUSINESS?

2. Ask questions. Your prospects and customers want their voices heard, and asking questions is the best way to show them you’re listening. Encouraging them to tell you what they want and need has two benefits. First, it increases your customers’ confidence in your service and reassures them you’re interested in their situation. Second, you’ll discover how your product or service benefits your clients and why they should purchase from you. 3. Be genuine. Every interaction must be meaningful. Show your prospects that you care about them and don’t want to waste their time. Speak to them as if you’re friends. You don’t want them to feel like they’re talking to a salesperson but a trusted advisor. People buy items based on how it makes them feel. So focus on the benefits you can provide and place yourself in more of an expert role rather than a salesperson. Although value-based selling requires more work, it’s ultimately worth it. Not only will you show how valuable your service is, but you will build lasting relationships with your customers, which will bring more retentions and referrals. So, give this strategy a try and watch your business grow!

You may use sales tactics to persuade potential customers to purchase something from your business. But this strategy won’t work for some people. They may question the price of the product and how it benefits them. Instead, try value-based selling to provide greater value to your customers than your competitors. This is an underused sales tactic because many businesses focus on the price instead of the value their product or service offers their customers. WHAT IS VALUE-BASED SELLING? Value-based selling presents the value your product or service creates for your customers instead of focusing on the price. Placing your customers' needs before your revenue will generate a long-term and reliable relationship with them.

HOW DO YOU IMPLEMENT THIS STRATEGY IN YOUR BUSINESS PLAN? 1. Know your clientele.

Understanding your customers’ needs drives better sales results. If you’re familiar with them, you can find what they’re looking for to add value to their lives. While researching, understand their background, industry, demographics, and pain points. If you’re attempting to sell to other businesses, look at their website and social media pages to see their company news and updates.

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