As the COVID-19 epidemic has caused confusion and fear for thousands of people in our state, county and throughout the world, the populations of clients we serve as Estate Planning and Probate Attorneys have been among the hardest hit. In response to the threat this disease poses, we must take the time to reevaluate our practices to establish the safest and most effective ways to continue to serve our clients.
Current and prospective clients are reaching out, out of fear, wanting to get together and solidify their plans and sign their documents, all at a time when our government out of genuine concern for our safety and well-being is telling us to stay at home, not to meet with people. We can’t meet with clients in hospitals and nursing homes in person, even if our government said it was okay to do so. How do we make sure we can support our staff, how do we support our practices, and how do we comfort our clients who are scared and anxious?
Estate Planning and Probate Attorneys new challenges include navigating remote documents signing, remote client meetings, and nursing home lockdowns.
Adapting our practice to offer telephonic or virtual meetings through video conferencing has become, and will continue to be, essential to providing our services. Although the concept of interacting with our client at a distance is not a new one, the use of video conferencing technology has been a relatively new experience for many older clients, and we must take steps to make our clients feel comfortable with the technology. Although each meeting will have its own challenges, there are some steps the attorney can take to increase the chance of a successful interactions, such as:
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, through the course of providing our services we regularly met with clients in our office, in their homes, in hospitals, in skilled nursing facilities and in assisted living facilities. In this new reality, within our offices, we should have clear policies in place and be sure to effectively communicate these policies to staff, clients, and anyone who walks through the door.
Here are some considerations for COVID-19- related best practices: