4 Reasons to Revisit Your Powers of Attorney

Although much of estate planning deals with what happens after you pass, it’s equally important to have a plan for making critical financial or medical decisions if you’re unable to make them for yourself. Carefully designed financial and health care powers of attorney allow you to designate a trusted person to make financial and medical decisions on your behalf in the event an illness or injury renders you unconscious or otherwise incapacitated. They also allow you to provide your designee with guidance on making these decisions, including your preferences regarding the use of life-sustaining medical procedures.

Review and revise as needed

Powers of attorney can provide peace of mind that your wishes will be carried out, but it’s important not to get lulled into a false sense of security. You should revisit these documents periodically in light of changing circumstances and consider executing new ones.

Possible reasons you may need new powers of attorney include:

1. Your wishes have changed.

2. The person you designated to act on your behalf has died or otherwise become unavailable.

3. You’re no longer comfortable with the person you designated. (For example, perhaps you designated your spouse, but have since divorced.)

4. If you’ve moved to another state, your powers of attorney may no longer work the way you intended. Certain terms have different meanings in different states, and states don’t all have the same procedural requirements. Some states, for example, require durable powers of attorney to be filed with the local county recorder or some other government agency.

Honoring your powers of attorney

Even if your circumstances haven’t changed, it’s a good idea to execute new powers of attorney every few years. Why? Because powers of attorney are effective only if they’re honored, and — because of liability concerns — some financial institutions and health care providers may be reluctant to honor documents that are more than a few years old.

Contact your ATA representative with any questions regarding powers of attorney. We’d be pleased to further explain how they work or, if your estate plan already includes powers of attorney, help determine if you need to revise them or execute new documents. © 2021

Employee Newsletter Helpful Articles

Look at your employee handbook with fresh eyes

For businesses, so much has changed over the past year or so. The COVID-19 pandemic hit suddenly and companies were forced to react quickly — sending many employees home to work remotely and making myriad other tweaks and revisions to their processes. Understandably, you may not have fully documented all the changes you’ve made. But you should; and among the ideal places to do so is in your employee handbook.

Now that optimism is rising for a return to relative normalcy, why not look at your handbook with fresh eyes and ensure it accurately represents your company’s policies and procedures.

Legal considerations

Among the primary reasons companies create employee handbooks is protection from legal challenges. Clearly written HR policies and procedures will strengthen your defense if an employee sues. Don’t wait to test this theory in court: Ask your attorney to review the legal soundness of your handbook and make all recommended changes.

Why is this so important?

A supervisor without a legally sound and updated employee handbook is like a coach with an old rulebook. You can’t expect supervisors or team members to play by the rules if they don’t know whether and how those rules have changed. Make sure employees sign a statement acknowledging that they’ve read and understood the latest version of your handbook. Obviously, this applies to new hires, but also ask current employees to sign a new statement when you make major revisions.

Motivational language

Employee handbooks can also communicate the total value of working for your company. Workers don’t always appreciate the benefits their employers provide. This is often because they, and maybe even some managers, aren’t fully aware of those offerings. Your handbook should express that you care about employees’ welfare — a key point to reinforce given the events of the past year. It also should show precisely how you provide support. To do so, identify and explain all employee benefits. Don’t stop with the obvious descriptions of health care and retirement plans. Describe your current paid sick time and paid leave policies, which have no doubt been transformed by federal COVID relief measures, as well as any work schedule flexibility and fringe benefits that you offer.

Originality and specificity

One word of caution: When updating their handbooks, some businesses acquire a “best in class” example from another employer and try to adopt it as their own. Doing so generally isn’t a good idea. That other handbook’s tone may be inappropriate or at least inconsistent with your industry or organizational culture. Similarly, be careful about downloading handbook templates from the Internet. Chances are you’ll have no idea who wrote the original, let alone if it complies with current laws and regulations.

Document and guide

Your employee handbook should serve as a clearly written document for legal purposes and a helpful guide for your company’s workforce.

Our family of firm company, ATA Employment Solutions, can provide guidance on updating business guidelines and employee handbooks. Click here for more information on ATAES. ATA CPAs can help you track your employment costs and develop solutions to any challenges you face as you look at your human capital with fresh eyes. Visit our website to learn more about ATA’s bookkeeping and client accounting services.  © 2021


ATA Business Insights

Join us for our free quarterly webinar to gain business insights to help shape strategies, solve problems, and grow your company. This quarter’s topic: Supercharge Your Business with an Innovation Strategy Session. 

Register with this Zoom link for the June 8th event. It will start 11AM central time.



Inflation-Adjusted Health Savings Account Thresholds Announced

The inflation-adjusted Health Savings Account (HSA) thresholds for next year have been announced by the IRS. For calendar year 2022, a high deductible health plan is one with:

  1. an annual deductible of at least $1,400 for individual coverage (unchanged from 2021), or $2,800 for family coverage (unchanged from 2021)
  2. maximum out-of-pocket expenses of $7,050 for individual coverage (up from $7,000 in 2021), or $14,100 for family coverage (up from $14,000 in 2021). For 2022, the maximum annual contribution to an HSA is $3,650 for self-only coverage (up from $3,600 in 2021) and $7,300 for family coverage (up from $7,200 in 2021).

Talk with your CPA if you have tax-related questions regarding your HSA.



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Construction Helpful Articles Memphis, TN Nashville, TN

The Post-Covid Urban Revival: What’s Next For Big Cities?

Today, more than four out of five people in the United States live in cities and urban areas. Over the country’s long history of urbanization, cities like New York, San Francisco and Chicago swelled not only in population, but also in their prominence as American cultural icons. That cachet helped these metropolises thrive even when economic conditions were challenging elsewhere, providing landlords and other commercial real estate stakeholders with a level of stability and security smaller cities couldn’t match.

In recent years, though, these storied cities started falling victim to their own success. Unebbing demand for limited residential and commercial space led to skyrocketing costs, and near-constant expansions and enhancements to government services necessitated new fees and higher taxes. At the same time, the emergence of remote working meant that people didn’t have to move to these uber-expensive cities to work for the companies that called them home. New technology, combined with cost of living and quality of life concerns, chipped away at that old preeminence, and businesses and individuals started choosing Atlanta over New York, Denver over Chicago and Austin over San Francisco. A Brookings Institution study found that population growth in the country’s largest urban areas dropped by almost half through the 2010s.

Download the below article to find out how the COVID-19 pandemic amplified some of the disadvantages of living and working in densely populated cities and accelerated migration to smaller cities and more rural areas.