An update on how The Taormina Firm is meeting client expectations through the COVID-19 pandemic.
We are living in very uncertain and frightening times. We are being told by state and local officials to shelter-in-place, to bunker down for the long-haul as the recent COVID-19 outbreak lingers hauntingly around us. Six months ago, no one could have imagined that we’d be dealing with this crisis—both personally and economically. But here we are. So, I want to share with you some of the precautions that The Taormina Firm is taking to ensure our client’s safety.
First, The Taormina Firm will not be meeting clients face-to-face. Because it is nearly impossible to know whether someone has been exposed to COVID-19 due to lack of testing, it is imperative that in-person meetings be avoided. But since much of the lawyer-client relationship depends on building a rapport, The Taormina Firm has set it up so that Initial Client Consultations may be conducted via Zoom conference. Before the Initial Client Consultation, I will send each potential client a link to Zoom, via email, so that face-to-face meetings can be conducted over the computer. This will limit exposure to and the potential spread of COVID-19. We should all do our part to protect our communities and families, and this is one way that we can do just that.
Second, because Missouri has strict Will requirements (each Will must be signed by the Testator and two (2) disinterested witnesses in the presence of one another and a notary), it is incredibly difficult during this time of “social distancing” to create a valid Will. So, The Taormina Firm has begun reaching out to state legislators in Missouri to adopt the Uniform Electronic Wills Act. This Act brings the Will formalities into the 21st Century by allowing the Testator to sign his/her Will electronically, and includes provisions to allow Witnesses to sign the Will remotely (meaning out of the view and presence of the Testator). Since we do not know how long this pandemic will last, and since Wills and other testamentary documents are of the utmost importance for the protection of one’s assets acquired during life, The Taormina Firm believes it is time to allow Missouri citizens to create valid Wills electronically. As further outreach to state legislators continues, The Taormina Firm will keep you updated on how you can help in making sure that Missouri becomes the first state in the United States to adopt the Uniform Electronic Wills Act.
Lastly, The Taormina Firm is offering Health Care Directives and Health Care Powers of Attorney with specific provisions addressing COVID-19. In light of recent developments, it is incredibly important that Health Care Directives include updated language protecting patients against the withdrawal or withholding of ventilators and other life-support devices if they contract COVID-19. Most existing Health Care Directives and Health Care Powers of Attorney do not provide such protection. Because these provisions are important and necessary, The Taormina Firm is offering to update existing and draft new Health Care Directives and Health Care Powers of Attorney with COVID-19 specific language for $200 total.
We are living through history, and each of us can do our part to protect our families and our communities from COVID-19. And as scary and uncertain as these times are, we will make it through this rough-patch. But in the meantime, please be safe and continue to distance yourself from others to contain the virus.