By Associate Attorney Katy Currie
National Estate Planning Awareness Week was adopted in 2008 to help the public understand what estate planning is and why it is important for all people, not just the uber-rich. An “estate” does not necessarily mean something like the Biltmore Estate. Everyone has an estate, even small or insolvent estates. Estate planning is more than money – estate planning allows you to gain control and peace of mind over difficult and unpredictable situations. We have previously written about the difficulties caused by dying without a will in North Carolina and the pitfalls of the probate process in North Carolina; however, many of the “worst-case” scenarios can be avoided with proper planning. Let us help you plan for emergency scenarios and protect your business and personal assets for the benefit of your loved ones through estate planning.
Unfortunately, COVID-19 has shown us that there are no guarantees, but it has also highlighted what is most important to each of us: family. Estate planning allows you to plan for what happens when you pass away, including naming a trusted person to handle your final affairs, name guardians for minor children, and distribute your assets according to your wishes. In addition to planning for death, our office drafts durable and health care powers of attorneys, where you can name agents to make both financial and medical decisions for you if you are incapacitated and cannot communicate.
There is no reason to wait to do planning, and as we age and the pandemic continues to be a part of our “new normal,” you should get a plan in place before it is ever needed. If you do become incapacitated or ill, it may be more difficult or impossible to get documents in place, as you must have testamentary capacity to create valid estate planning documents.
Some of our clients delay estate planning because they do not have any friends or family members they trust to serve in fiduciary roles. In some circumstances, members of the firm may serve in these roles for the client if the client feels comfortable. It is better for you to take control and name someone yourself than to have the government appoint someone in an emergency or when you pass away.
National Estate Planning Awareness Week is a great time for you to take CONTROL! Please call Jesson & Rains if you have questions about getting your estate plan in order or updating an existing estate plan. While You Build, We Protect.
By Attorney Edward Jesson
WARN notices have once again been in the news lately: a lawsuit was filed against a prominent Chicago restaurant after it closed, alleging that it failed to properly notify its employees of its closing; Wells Fargo issued a WARN notice regarding the layoff of over 500 employees in South Carolina. But what is a WARN notice and why should you, as an employer or an employee care?
The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act (WARN) is a federal law that was enacted in an attempt to protect workers when layoffs are inevitable. The WARN Act applies to employers with 100 or more employees (excluding part time workers) and generally provides that those employers must provide at least 60 days advanced written notice of a plant closing or mass layoff which would affect 50 or more employees at a single site of employment. It is important to note that “plant closing” does not only refer to manufacturing plants or similar things, but in fact refers to a single site of employment.
There are exceptions to the requirement that the employer provide 60 days written notice. For example, natural disasters, unforeseeable business circumstances, or under circumstances where a business is actively seeking capital and issuing the WARN notice could jeopardize that, are all circumstances in which the employer may not necessarily have to issue the WARN notice.
The WARN notice provides employees who are losing their job with information regarding assistance provided through the relevant state’s Rapid Response Dislocated Worker Unit (“RRDWU”). Upon receipt of a WARN notice, the RRDWU coordinates with the employer to provide on-site information to the workers about future employment opportunities and retraining services, such as job search assistance and on-the-job and/or classroom job training programs.
If any employer violates WARN, the employer may be liable to each affected employee for an amount equal to back pay and benefits for the period of the WARN violation, which can be up to 60 days. Back pay for 100 employees over a 60 day period can obviously be a significant amount, especially to an employer that is already forced to lay off employees.
If you believe that your company may have to issue a WARN notice please do not hesitate to contact the attorneys at Jesson & Rains, PLLC to assist.
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