How do we move forward from COVID-19? Though the pandemic isn’t over yet, we’re past the initial weeks of the crisis, and as restrictions begin to ease throughout the country, we’re left asking, what now?

Together, we will slowly figure out what life looks like after all this. Our families, communities, and country will forge ahead. But we each would do well to carry the lessons we’ve learned about life and ourselves into the future.

Here are a few of ours we’d like to share. We believe they are applicable to us all:

1. Yes, That Can Happen To Us

Hitting us close to home and much too personally, a sickness that we associated with countries across the world at its beginning made its way here and showed us that even in our culture of advanced healthcare, we are not invincible. 

As hospitals filled up, people sheltered in place, and the economy shut down, things we never thought we’d have to think about filled our minds. Yes, we could get sick, even die. Yes, our economy could plunge suddenly amid a time of prosperity. Yes, things that we never imagine happening to us can, in fact, strike at any moment. 

This reality check has given our team here at the Law Office of Joshua E. Hummer perspective on our lives and has filled us with compassion for others. Those are things we want to keep. 

2. Never Take Everyday Life For Granted

We could never have predicted when 2020 began that we would be forced to do drive-in document signings, wear masks for weeks, and only meet as a team over Zoom. Who knew it would become dangerous to simply sit down and have coffee with our clients? We’ve each had to make dozens of sacrifices and changes to our everyday lives, and many people have had it much worse than us.

If and when things get back to normal, we want to be attentive to the everyday blessings that come with human contact. 

3. Preparation Is Key To Peace Of Mind.

A crisis like COVID-19 reveals how unprepared we are in many areas of life. We have to balance preparation with trust, of course. There is no way to be fully prepared for every worst-case scenario, and we don’t want to live in fear.  But there are some basic precautions we should all take that will bring about peace of mind. 

We believe one necessary precaution is to create an end-of-life plan, regardless of your age or health. None of us know when our time will come to pass away.

A plan that directs what you want to happen at your death and how your family will be cared for helps you face the future confidently, knowing the important things are in place should you die unexpectedly.  

(Related: Why Do I Need An Estate Plan?)

4. Traditional Estate Planning Is Not Good Enough

COVID-19 emphasized to us something we’ve been convinced of for quite a while: traditional estate planning is not good enough. We believe in Relational Estate PlanningTM. Here’s the difference:

Most people approach estate planning from a financial standpoint. They know they need to get their assets in order and create a plan for who gets what after their death. They are usually focused on their money and what will happen to it. 

A relational estate planning philosophy, however, approaches estate planning from the viewpoint of your closest relationships. It takes into account your loved ones, what they need, and what you project they are headed toward in their futures with the information you have now. Money is seen as a tool to protect and provide for them. 

If you have people you love and care about, traditional estate planning just doesn’t make the cut. It’s too solely focused on money, and not enough on doing justice to your relationships. 

What we’ve seen during the pandemic is that not only were people scared about not having a plan for their assets, but they were also scared and unsure of how to care for the people they love most. Relational Estate PlanningTM allows you to do both.

(Related: What is Relational Estate Planning?)

5. Facing The Important Stuff Should Not Wait

Life is too short, as this crisis has reminded us. Have honest conversations, speak what’s on your heart, make peace in relationships, and tell your family and friends you love them – don’t let the important stuff sit.

We encourage everyone to do this with an Ethical Will, which is a document that passes on your most important values, ethics, and experiences. 

(Related: Your Ethical Will: The Most Important Document In A Relational Estate Plan)


Hopefully, we will be leaving the infamous time of COVID-19 in the past soon. It’s been scary and sad to live through, but it has given us invaluable insights into our priorities and the way we live, and for that we are thankful.


Joshua E. Hummer, Esq. is a licensed attorney who has been admitted in both Virginia and West Virginia. He is a graduate of the University of Virginia and has been practicing law in Winchester for over 15 years. While experienced in many parts of the law, Josh specializes in estate planning and estate administration, elder care, and business law.