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Blended families are families with children from multiple marriages or relationships. This type of family has a number of unique estate planning considerations that California residents should consider.

Having an updated will

It is especially important for blended families to have an up-to-date will. This estate planning document should include provisions for all of your children, regardless of whether they are from your current marriage or a previous one. A will that reflects your current family situation may help to avoid any confusion or conflict later on.

Providing for your children’s needs

It is important to consider the unique needs of each of your children when creating an estate plan. For example, if you have a child with special needs, you may need to set up a trust to provide for their care after your death. Alternatively, if you have children from different marriages, you may want to consider how to divide your assets fairly between them. For instance, you may want to set up separate trusts for each child.

Clear and updated beneficiary designations

Beneficiary designations refer to the people who will receive your assets after you die. This can include things like life insurance policies, retirement accounts and bank accounts. It is important to keep these beneficiary designations up to date as they take precedence over what is stated in your will. For example, if you have a life insurance policy with an ex-spouse as the beneficiary, that policy will go to them after you die regardless of what your will says.

Treating all your heirs fairly

This may mean leaving the same amount of money to each child, or it may mean creating separate trusts for each child that are structured in the same way. Whatever approach you take, it is important to avoid any appearance of favoritism as this can lead to conflict among your heirs.

Blended families have a lot to think about when it comes to estate planning. However, with careful consideration and planning, it is possible to create an estate plan that meets the needs of all family members.

California employers can increase profits and reduce turnover rates by focusing on diversity and inclusion in the workplace. Increasing the diversity can result in more innovation, improved employee morale, and increased productivity.

Understanding workplace diversity and inclusion

Workplace diversity and inclusion are terms that have seized the public imagination over the past decade. While they are popular concepts for businesses, many employers don’t understand what they mean and how to make their workplaces more diverse. Diversity refers to including people of multiple backgrounds in the workplace, including people of different races, religions, genders and gender identities, and other differences. It can also refer to including people who are of different socioeconomic backgrounds. A diverse workplace that is also equitable and inclusive is one in which people of all backgrounds share in the decision-making structure and have opportunities to provide input. Employees that work in diverse workplaces are likelier to feel valued.

Benefits of workplace diversity and inclusion

Research has demonstrated that employers can derive multiple benefits from emphasizing workplace diversity and inclusion. When a business increases the diversity and inclusiveness of its workplace, research has shown that it might benefit in the following ways:

  • Increased profits
  • Greater innovation revenues
  • Improved productivity
  • Increased employee morale
  • Reduced turnover rates

By promoting diversity and inclusion in the workplace and hiring people of various backgrounds, employers can demonstrate to their employees that they are valued. This can result in greater creativity and an increase in ideas for business improvements, which can facilitate the business’s success and growth. While diversity and inclusion might seem like popular terms that many businesses toss around as abstract ideals, companies that embrace diversity and facilitate inclusion and equity in their workplaces are likelier to experience greater creativity, productivity, growth, and success as compared to those that have homogenous work environments.

Many California residents work full-time jobs to earn a living. Most jobs aren’t without an occasionally stressful day. However, things can go from bad to worse when you and a co-worker get into a heated conflict. Fortunately, there are many ways to resolve workplace conflicts for healthier working relationships.

Listen actively

Certain work-related conflicts happen because someone isn’t listening. Sure, you might hear the words that someone else says. By using active listening, you try and understand the other person’s point of view. Having a deeper understanding of someone else’s perspective might lead you and another party to resolve all conflicts.

Bring in a neutral third party

If there’s no way to resolve a situation, disputing people can benefit from bringing in a neutral third party. This popular tactic is a form of workplace mediation where a third party helps two other parties resolve disputes. This person should be someone without close ties to you or the person you disagree with. If that’s not the case, it could lead to bias in these discussions.

Compromise

It’s not always possible for two people to agree on a set of terms. Fortunately, slightly altering these terms to propose a compromise might resolve your disagreement. For example, imagine that you and your co-worker had to complete three projects together. However, your co-worker doesn’t have time to complete their portion of the work. You could pick up the slack and complete their work if they help you with a task next week.

Work-related conflicts can happen in a variety of ways. Sometimes, disputes happen due to someone experiencing problems at home. In other situations, two people might have distinctly different personalities.

Workplaces in California examine how inclusion and diversity improve productivity and morale. Recognizing workers’ contributions inspires people to demonstrate their best work and desire to help their company and careers to grow.

Many companies are rich in diversity, and increasing inclusion adds value to employees by allowing cultural differences to be part of their employment practices. Examples of inclusivity contain ideas for creating different dynamic teams for work projects. Some cultures offer value because of their attention to detail and style, while others are more structured, which improves time management.

Diversity is the “what” in the workplace, while inclusion is the “how.” Examining how each concept affects team effort reflects areas of opportunity and targets success.

Focus on diversity

Diversity includes every workplace member regardless of nationality, language, race, color, disability, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity, socioeconomic status, veteran status, and family structures. Everyone is a valuable component of the company’s success.

Diversity and inclusion are distinctly different. Diversity measures the number of a specific segment of the workplace population, such as:

• How many women work or hold senior management positions?

• How many different religious groups make up the company’s staff?

• How many company events celebrate diverse, ethnic, or cultural family structures?

Inclusive hiring practices that welcome diverse backgrounds and perspectives attract a broader and more talented candidate pool.

Focus on Inclusion

Although most businesses are accustomed to workplace diversity, inclusivity offers growth opportunities. Diversity and inclusion work well in companies that hire people with various traits and characteristics. The following list shows the benefits of a diverse and inclusive workforce:

• Increased confidence

• Increased engagement

• Increased creativity

• Ideal workplace

• Greater talent pool

Companies that value diversity and inclusion provide greater profitability to their employees, management, and shareholders. The evidence shows that employees value being treated with dignity and respect.

Workers employed at the same California businesses don’t always agree. As a result, there are times when a workplace conflict might arise that can have an adverse effect on your company. Mediation is often a good way to resolve those issues.

Why mediation is used

Mediation is considered an alternative, fair means of resolving a conflict. When a dispute occurs in the workplace, the best way to help the parties involved come to an agreement is to have an impartial third party meet with them to discuss the problem. The purpose of workplace mediation is to resolve the conflict so that everyone can move forward positively.

The mediation process

When a formal process is used to settle workplace disputes, it can be costly and too time-consuming. Mediation is a better option that is faster, easier and cost-efficient. It’s also a good way to allow the employees involved in the dispute to get a sense of empowerment because each party’s voice is heard during the process.

Prior to mediation, you or someone else in upper management should meet with each person separately to discuss their side of the situation. Afterward, you should meet with both while remaining neutral and hearing each party’s side. Avoid taking sides but try to negotiate ways that each person can understand the other’s point of view. There must be a middle ground met to resolve the issue.

After the negotiation is done and compromises have been made, you should be able to reach a conclusion to the dispute. You’ll want to take notes so that a formal written agreement can be created. As an optional part of the mediation process, each party could be presented with a copy of the agreement and signed it. However, mediation is meant to be an informal process, so you might not want to press the issue.

Mediation often helps resolves issues and make things easier in the workplace.

When someone dies, their estate goes through a legal process known as probate. The executor is an important part of this process and is responsible for carrying out the deceased’s wishes.

However, sometimes the executor doesn’t do their job properly. If you think your executor has mishandled an estate, you may be able to sue them.

Who is the executor?

The executor is the person responsible for carrying out the deceased’s wishes. For one, they’re in charge of distributing the estate’s assets. They do so by following the instructions set forth in the will. If there is no will, they’ll follow state intestacy laws.

The executor is also responsible for paying the estate’s debts and taxes. They must do this before distributing any assets to beneficiaries. Lastly, the executor must deal with any estate litigation that may come up. This includes handling any lawsuits that are filed against the estate.

When can you sue the executor?

There are a few different reasons why you might want to sue your executor. One reason is if they’ve mishandled estate funds. This could include using estate funds for their own personal gain or failing to pay estate debts and taxes.

Another reason to sue an executor is if they’ve failed to properly carry out the deceased’s wishes. For example, if they’ve distributed assets in a way that doesn’t match the instructions set forth in the will. Lastly, you may want to sue an executor if they’ve been unfair or unreasonable during the estate administration process.

How do you sue the executor?

If you want to sue your executor, you’ll need to file a lawsuit in a civil court. You’ll need to state your reasons for suing and what damages you’re seeking. While determining this estate litigation case, the court will look at the executor’s actions and see if they were indeed negligent.

When filing your lawsuit, you’ll need to decide if you want to sue the executor personally or professionally. If you sue them professionally, they may be able to use estate assets to pay any damages that are awarded.

If you sue them personally, they’ll have to use their own money to pay damages. This is usually only done in cases of severe misconduct.

Suing your executor is a serious matter. You should only do so if you have a valid reason and you’re prepared to see the case through to the end.

If you have children, own a California home or have a retirement account, it’s in your best interest to have an estate plan. In fact, it may be a good idea to have an estate plan even if you don’t have any assets. Without an advance directive, you may get treatment while incapacitated that you wouldn’t have consented to while of sound mind.

You’re the only one who makes decisions about your health

When you were a child, your parents could make decisions on your behalf if you were incapacitated. However, after reaching adulthood, you are the only one who can do so. Without proper documentation, you may not get the treatment that you want or need in a timely manner. In addition to an advance directive, you can appoint a medical agent to speak on your behalf if necessary.

Make sure your kids are taken care of

You can designate a guardian for your children with a will or trust. A trust can also hold property for the benefit of your sons or daughters until they are old enough to manage assets on their own.

You are more likely to be of sound mind when you’re younger

Perhaps the best reason to start estate planning at a younger age is that you are more likely to be of sound mind. If there is reason to believe that you weren’t capable of understanding what a will, trust or other estate plan documents were when they were made, those documents might be invalidated. This means that your home, car or other possessions may be subject to state intestacy laws.

Taking a proactive approach to estate planning may make it easier to manage your affairs while alive and after your death. Having a clear plan in place may also reduce the risk of conflicts arising between family members or your child lacking the resources necessary to experience a comfortable upbringing. It may be worthwhile to review plan documents on an annual basis after they are executed.

Part of owning a small business in California involves handling the inevitable legal disputes. As your company grows, your chances of having a legal dispute over a contract, unfinished project, or other disagreement becomes more likely. Fortunately, instead of costly legal trials, you can choose mediation to help solve your disputes.

What is mediation?

During mediation, a conversation occurs between at least two groups of people. The goal of this conversation involves reaching a mutually satisfying resolution to a dispute or conflict. A mediator oversees the process and acts as an unbiased, confidential and neutral party.

What are the benefits of workplace mediation?

During workplace mediation, small business owners typically experience the following benefits:

  • The process provides effective results.
  • Small businesses especially benefit from mediations costing less than a traditional trial.
  • The mediation process takes less time than a traditional trial.
  • Mediator services are widely available.
  • Hostilities are typically reduced during mediation.

How does the mediation process work?

Often, business owners do not know what to expect from a mediation proceeding. While each mediation proceeding varies in the exact procedure, a few aspects will remain consistent.

Expect to experience these steps in a workplace mediation:

  • Mediator welcomes each side.
  • Each party gives a statement.
  • Mediator asks questions to clarify any confusion.
  • Mediator keeps a dialogue with both parities in order to develop and alter proposals.
  • All parties strive to reach points of agreement, and ultimately, a final agreement.

Conclusion

As a small business owner, you should expect to have some legal disputes. A lengthy trial over these disputes can cost you time and money. Instead of a trial, consider mediation to resolve them.

Inclusive hiring involves making choices that recognize diversity in your job applicants. When you decide to work on having inclusive hiring practices, embrace the range of backgrounds and perspectives that job candidates in California bring to the workforce. But inclusive hiring requires you to take active steps to make sure that the process promotes diversity.

Inclusion starts with the job descriptions.

Focus on a welcoming job description that promotes diversity and inclusion. To achieve this goal, make sure your job descriptions do the following:

  • Avoid gender-specific terminology.
  • Remove industry-specific jargon.
  • Choose language local to the workplace.
  • Use short sentences and paragraphs.
  • Choose fonts that are easy to read such as Arial, Tahoma, or Open Sans.

Make sure your career webpage design promotes accessibility.

Your website should include accurate photos depicting the diversity that already exists in your workplace. Include videos and audio descriptions whenever possible. In general, make sure that your website follows the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.

Be upfront about the video interviewing process.

Some of your most qualified candidates may not possess experience with video interviews. To create an inclusive interview atmosphere, provide prospective interviewees with expectations before the day of the interview. Provide guidance to the applicant on lighting and audio requirements.

Expand your job advertising locations.

If you continually use the same job advertising methods, you are not incorporating inclusive hiring practices. Ideally, your job advertisements should include print, virtual job fairs, and social networks. You should also consider advertising on job boards that cater to specific minority groups.

Why is an inclusive hiring process important?

Having an inclusive hiring process lowers staff turnover, increases productivity, and results in greater job satisfaction. By promoting diversity and inclusion in your hiring practices, you will create a work environment that benefits your entire organization.

Disputes are bound to occur as long as two or more people are working together. But, that doesn’t mean it should affect your productivity or business in California. There are effective and fruitful approaches you could take to solve conflicts and even improve your work relationship with your colleagues or employer. Mediation is one of them.

Understanding workplace mediation in California

Workplace mediation is a process where an impartial third party, the mediator, helps employees in conflict understand each other’s points of view and reach an agreement. The mediator doesn’t take sides or make decisions for the parties involved. Rather, they facilitate communication between the disputing parties to enable them to come up with their own solutions that work best for them.

Reasons why people prefer workplace mediation

There are several reasons why workplace mediation has become a popular approach to solving workplace disputes in California. For one, it’s less costly than going to court or hiring an attorney. It also takes less time since most cases are resolved within a few sessions (or even just one sitting). Moreover, it promotes open communication and mutual understanding between the parties involved, which can help improve their working relationship. Lastly, it empowers employees to take control of their own conflicts and come up with creative solutions that work best for them.

If you’re thinking of pursuing workplace mediation in California, here are a few things you need to know:

  • Workplace mediation is confidential, and therefore, anything that’s said in your session cannot be used as evidence in a future court case
  • The mediator is impartial; they will never coerce you towards a particular outcome
  • Disputing parties must both be willing to participate for it to be successful
  • Either party can choose to walk away from the process at any time because mediation is voluntary in California
  • The parties resolve their conflict on their terms rather than under the limitations that a judge/jury  may legally be able to provide at trial

Mediation is one of the best ways to deal with any issue in California. But, for it to be effective, you must prepare for it adequately, express yourself in a clear and concise way, and listen carefully to the other party to understand them.