At Fleming & Curti, PLC, we’ve been thinking about how we — and our clients — will adjust as the economy reopens. We may see more of our clients face-to-face, but we’ll still want to be very cautious about proper distancing and disinfecting routines. What might that look like in the months to come?
One idea we’re planning on implementing: what we’re calling “patio planning.” That is, we can meet with you in an open area, maintaining social distances, and exchange no paper, implements or even drinking cups.
There will be challenges, no doubt. Temperatures in Tucson are already in the high 90s every day, and regularly above 100°. We — and our clients — need to be flexible and adaptable.
Patio Planning at your house
We can come visit you to discuss estate planning and review your choices. To make sure we have minimal contacts, we will bring our own table and chairs, and meet with you on your patio. Masks and gloves will of course be involved.
Of course, if we do come to you there will be some additional issues to grapple with. If you are a new client, we really need to see your existing documents in advance. But we can set up a mechanism for you to get us those documents, and a completed questionnaire, in advance.
Patio Planning at our office
Maybe you’re comfortable traveling to our office, but would rather not come into our shared workspace. We can accommodate that, too. Our folding chairs and patio tables are easy to wipe down, and we can set them up in the shadiest spot outside our office. You get to decide whether the office dog joins us for the meeting.
Again, though, we will need to be flexible and adaptable. High temperatures will make it important to meet early in the morning (or sometimes at the end of the day). The good news on that score: our patio planning table and chairs will have spent their time inside our offices, so won’t have been superheated by the Tucson sunshine (perhaps only Tucson locals can really appreciate the significance of that promise).
Once again, we will disinfect the furniture, wear masks and gloves as appropriate, and offer you the same protective items. But at least it would give us a chance to meet face mask to face mask.
Are those the only choices?
Of course not. We can (and expect to) continue to make most of our client appointments by telephone or video chat. We can set up group telephone calls when necessary, and we are fairly proficient with GoToMeeting, Zoom, Skype and whatever else you are comfortable with using.
Some clients (and prospective clients) have told us that they just don’t want to “meet” us virtually, and they would rather wait until “this” is over. We’re not sure when things will be back to normal, but we offer this alternative to make it easier for you to get your planning underway.
We really do need to see you for the signing of your documents, in many cases. That’s another way we expect to use our patio planning approach. We can have all of our initial appointments by telephone or video conference, and just set up the portable patio chairs and table for the signing appointment.
As we’ve described before, we will continue to be cautious about signing protocols to minimize risk. Want to stay in your car and pass a (sanitized) clipboard through your car window? Yes, we can do driveway signings. Prefer us to visit your home but stand outside and watch you sign through your kitchen window? We’ve done that, and can do it again.
Here’s the main thing: we want to make it easy for you to get your estate planning completed. We have heard from too many clients with a loved one under quarantine, who regret that they never got around to getting signed powers of attorney. These estate planning documents are important, and we’re here to help you get them completed. It’s what we do.