During these unique and unprecedented times, we at Genders and Partners are still working hard to help our clients and their families create and update their estate plans efficiently, while also focusing on keeping everyone safe through social distancing practices.
We take very seriously the need to protect you and our staff.
As part of a client’s estate plan signings, we review all documents that our clients will be signing in-depth with them and discuss their overall plan before any documents are signed.
We have been utilizing SKYPE video meetings with clients to review their documents and find that this method has been working very well. If a client does not have access to SKYPE or is uncomfortable with a video conference, we can send the documents to the client as drafts via email (or mail) and review them with the client over the phone.
For signing estate plan documents, our main method is “the hit and run” method of signings. These have worked very well. We give advice and take instructions via video conferencing, including the review of the finalised documents.
Then when a client’s documents are ready for signature, we schedule a very brief appointment for them to come to our office to sign. When they get to our office (with free parking), they will see several places where they can sanitise their hands.
We only use sanitised pens for them to use for the signing. Social distancing is enforced, and we only permit a maximum of 6 people in the room.
For signing appointments, we adhere to a maximum of 30 minutes for the visit, and frequently we only need 10-15 minutes, because we have already reviewed the documents to your satisfaction via videoconferencing beforehand.
Our team will be assisting the signing and serving as witnesses. One of our team members will bring the clients’ documents, which will be marked where the client needs to sign.
Once all documents are signed, a team member will collect them from the clients, confirm that all pages have been signed, sign as witnesses, and then the client is all set to head home.
For some clients, we may be able to visit them at their home in some circumstances. Specific precautions and restrictions will need to be enforced.
For the foreseeable future, we cannot visit hospitals or nursing homes.
If a client can find two disinterested witnesses to witness the signing of their documents, we can send the client their documents in the mail and provide specific instructions for how to sign the documents.
Some documents require an ‘authorised witness’ such as a lawyer or JP. Due to the pandemic, this could be a challenge for clients to locate.
We at Genders and Partners would be happy to discuss all these methods with our clients and advise on what method we think would work best on a case by case basis.
We understand that some clients might not feel comfortable coming to the office or might not have access to the required technology for the videoconferencing. By having multiple methods available, we can help our clients in almost any situation.
If you or someone you know has been thinking about getting their affairs in order and believes now more than ever is the time to create a plan or update their estate plan, we at Genders and Partners are here to help and can do so safely.