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We’ve been trying to strike a balance with the current coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. On the one hand, we know how critical the work that we do is for protecting our clients and their families in the event of the unthinkable. But on the other hand, we don’t want to give in to the anxiety and fear that is already in the air. Below I share a real-world example one of our clients is currently facing. PLEASE! Learn from this client’s example rather than learning the lesson first-hand!

We’ve been seeing two drastically different reactions from clients and prospective clients. Some clients are proactively taking the reins and using this as the impetus to get their planning done as soon as possible. But others are going into total shutdown mode and postponing their planning. 

In a time of anxiety and fear, I’m a firm believer in doing your best to control what you can about the situation and understand and accept what you can’t control. For example, you can’t control the virus itself. But you can control taking proactive measures that will add a bit of security and peace of mind to a stressful situation.

Here’s the situation that one of our clients is currently in:

When they first contacted us months ago, they admitted that they had put off their planning for years, despite the fact that they have a minor child and don’t have any planning or guardian nominations in place.

After exploring their goals, we determined the best planning option for them which would include, among other things, appropriate health care directives for both of the parents, financial powers of attorney, and a Children’s Safeguard Plan for their minor child which includes a Medical Authorization for Minor Child.

Along the way, the couple postponed a couple of appointments and generally weren’t in any hurry to get their plan in place.

They were scheduled to visit our office today to finally sign their documents. However, yesterday they contacted us to let us know that they got word that they may have been exposed to COVID-19 and are now under quarantine. Barring any emergency law changes, NC law requires the physical presence of a notary public and several of the documents also require the physical presence of two adult witnesses that are unrelated to the clients or their beneficiaries.

As a result of the quarantine, they have no way to get their documents signed without potentially exposing the witnesses and notary and they are potentially left unprotected if either they or their child gets sick. Again, I reiterate: Please learn from this client’s example rather than learning the lesson first-hand!

Now, in case you're wondering, this potential exposure happened well after the client's last visit to our office.

Our office continues to be open and operating. We are equipped to do all work virtually except for the physical signing of the documents and we’ve implemented “Drive-Thru” Curbside Signing Meetings with thorough disinfection and safety protocols which you can read about here.

If you don’t have any planning or health care directives in place, or if they are from out-of-state or need updating,  please give us a call to discuss at 919-443-3035.


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Jackie Bedard
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Attorney, Author, and Founder of Carolina Family Estate Planning
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