We are happy to report that, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, we are still able to deliver quality legal services and to serve our community with their legal needs.
We also are doing our part to slow the spread of COVID-19 by wearing facial coverings, disinfecting our office, providing hand sanitizer to all visitors, practicing social distancing, and offering telephonic and video conferencing options.
While we navigate our way through this unprecedented era, we will be operating with the above appropriate precautions in place. You will hear the same welcoming voices when you call. If you are a current or prospective client, please know that we are here for you and your loved ones as you need us. We will continue our proactive work on client matters. We know the days ahead will bring challenges and that you will need us more than ever. Should you need our assistance or have a question in the interim, you can reach us in the following ways:
By telephone, by calling (916) 437-3500. You should be able to reach a live person during business hours. However, if you get a voice mail recording, please leave a message with your name, phone number and purpose of call and we will get back to you as soon as possible.
By email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are following the status in each of our local courts regarding court filings and hearing dates, as well as availability of other government services, such as document recording. Further, as needed, we are determining how best to proceed with document signings
We will continue to provide updates on social media and through our website at www.norcalplanners.com and our firm newsletter. Like the community we serve, we are planning for the future with resilience, hope, and patience. We look forward to being of service.
As the Covid-19 restrictions cause more of us to shelter in place, we strongly recommend that you make use of this time to review your existing estate planning documents for the following provisions:
Fiduciaries (Successor Trustee, Will Executor, Financial Power of Attorney, Health Care Power of Attorney) Are these persons still your preferred choices? Are they still capable of and willing to serve in these roles? If a change is needed, please contact us.
Beneficiaries Are the designated beneficiaries under your trust still the preferred choices? Are you satisfied with the shares you have allocated to them? Are there any special conditions for a specific beneficiary that you would like to add or remove? If a change is needed, please contact us.
Health Care Preferences Do the designated choices you have made in your Advance Health Care Directive properly express your care preferences? If a change is needed, please contact us.
Asset titling Are all your real estate and financial accounts titled in the name of your trust? For almost all assets, they should be. Three key exceptions may be life insurance, annuities and retirement accounts (such as IRAs, 401k’s, 403b’s, etc.) in which the designation of beneficiaries is the key consideration. If you have questions, please contact us.
Original documents Do you know where your original estate planning documents are located? We provided them to you in a white envelope (not the burgundy binder) and advised you to put them into either a fire proof safe or safe deposit box. You should also have noted their location in your burgundy binder under the “Location Lists” tab. Does your successor trustee know where those documents are? Does he/she know how to access them, for example, know the safe combination or have the key to the safe deposit box along with having his/her name on the bank’s signature card so as to be able to access the safe deposit box? If your original signed documents have become lost or were destroyed, please contact us.
Some other recommendations include:
Young adult children: Even if they do not have enough assets to worry about a will or trust, young adults should have properly prepared powers of attorney for health care, powers of attorney for financial matters and a HIPAA (medical information) release form. Without these documents, in the event of a serious illness (such as may be caused by COVID-19) or accident, if they are unable to make medical or financial decisions on their own, a costly, burdensome and time-consuming legal procedure known as conservatorship may be required. These situations can extend far beyond the current coronavirus pandemic.
Older and Vulnerable Family Members and Friends: As with younger folks, those who are elderly or suffer from serious medical problems also should have in place a properly prepared powers of attorney for health care, powers of attorney for financial matters and a HIPAA release form. In addition, they should also have a Will if their estate is modest (under $150,000) or a trust-based plan for those with more than $150,000 in assets and/or if they own any real estate. If such persons are within your circle of close friends or relatives (including your parents and/or adult children), it would be in their best interests for you to encourage them to take the time to get their affairs in order before it’s too late.
Remember we’re all in this together and together we will get through this!
To your good health, happiness and prosperity.