Covid-19: We Are Fully Open for Business with Safety Modifications

March 24, 2020

LAST UPDATED: June 10, 2021

We are happy to report that as restrictions due to Covid-19 continue to be relaxed by government and health officials, Wokwicz Law Offices, LLC, has returned to holding in-person client meetings, while continuing to follow a regimen of safety measures as detailed below. We continue to offer virtual and phone call meetings where preferred. We plan to continue to follow these safety procedures until it becomes clear that the risk of virus

Give Yourself Peace of Mind

A properly crafted estate plan can give you peace of mind, knowing your assets and family are well protected. Our estate planning lawyers will help you get there.

We apologize in advance for any inconveniences that these procedures may present. Rest assured that these changes to our routines are to keep the community and our clients as safe as possible.

Our experience over the past 15 months has been enlightening. Through the use of phone calls or video conferencing, and emailing or mailing drafts of documents to clients prior to a phone call or video conference document review, we have learned that we can provide superior legal estate planning and probate services to the Kenosha and Racine area, while still keeping everyone safe. Many of our clients have preferred the ability to discuss their legal needs with an attorney from the comfort of their own homes. We have found that phone calls or Zoom video conferencing have been very effective both for initial and document review meetings.

Procedure Modifications During Covid-19

We want to serve our clients while also keeping our community and clients safe. We know that estate planning is always important and even more so during these trying times. We continue to provide estate planning, trust administration, and probate services, while mitigating the potential for exposure and infection. Therefore, we have in place a number of procedures to continue to serve our clients’ needs in as safe a manner as possible.

Please Call for Your Estate Planning Needs

As we are accepting phone call and video conference appointments, we can begin the estate planning process without an in-person meeting, or with an in-person meeting where preferred. Please call our office – 262-658-2181 – for your estate planning, trust, last will and testament, power of attorneys, probate and trust administration needs.  We have found that phone call meetings or Zoom meetings have been very effective and have allowed us to continue to provide the highest quality legal services to our clients.

As we often share with our clients, estate planning is a process. We can start that process now through telephone and video conferencing meetings, review documents by way of phone and video meetings, and as needed we can provide in-person meetings and in person client document signing meetings. It is still necessary to have an in-person signing meeting for estate planning documents, after drafts have been prepared and reviewed. Wisconsin law still requires that estate planning documents such as trusts, wills, and power of attorneys be notarized and witnessed in person. However, we have modified our procedures to make the signing process as safe as possible. We will discuss our signing meeting procedures further as we talk about and work on your estate plan or other documents. If preferred, we can sign documents at an in-person, socially distanced signing meeting.

By Appointment

We ask that when dropping off documents at our office, that you call us in advance to arrange  leaving documents in our mailbox in the lobby of our building or to arrange for hand delivery.

First Meetings and Information Gathering

We now can conduct non-signing meetings in person or by way of telephone or video conferencing using Zoom. We will therefore work with our clients and prospective clients to conduct first meetings remotely via telephone or video conferencing, or in person as preferred by our client.

Prior to our first meeting, we can obtain necessary documents from you via mail, email, or drop off, depending upon the clients’ comfort level and the information that we need.

We have found that this process has worked well for our clients and many prefer to discuss their estate planning needs and review estate planning drafts from the comfort of their homes. In fact, this process has worked so well, that we plan to continue to offer it going forward.

Signing Meetings

Certain estate planning documents require notaries or witnesses and cannot be competed remotely under Wisconsin law. Certain rules relaxing in-person notary laws do not apply to Wisconsin estate planning documents such as trusts, durable power of attorneys, and other documents. Last Wills and Testaments must be witnessed, in person by two witnesses under Wisconsin law and cannot be witnessed remotely. Therefore, signing meetings still need to be in-person. That said, we offer socially distanced signing meetings, where preferred.

After we have reviewed your documents via a phone, video, or in person meeting, the in-person signing meeting will need to take place. Signing meetings, although in-person, are socially distanced and with the sole purpose of signing original documents. Since we will have already provided our clients with document drafts and since we have already reviewed documents with our client, in advance of the signing meeting, the signing meeting can be a relatively short meeting.

Maintaining Best Practices for Signing Meetings

We have always required that we meet alone with the client when signing estate planning documents. This is a best practice and a requirement that we always follow. By rigorously following this practice, as estate planning attorneys, we can always attest that we met alone with the client – and that the client was not pressured or unduly influenced when signing documents such as trusts, wills, or power of attorney documents.

We’ve been practicing law a long time. Our Founder, Paul F. Wokwicz, was an attorney for over 60 years. His son, and our Lead Attorney and Owner, Paul B. Wokwicz, has practiced law for over 27 years. Over these combined 87+ years of practicing law, we have always been able to testify that a client was alone with us, and able to freely converse with us without any other people around during each and every estate planning signing meeting. This is a crucial rule that we cannot bend and will continue to follow.

Our Estate Planning Services Continue with More Meeting Options

We will do our best to keep our clients, employees, and community safe. We will take actions necessary to help protect everyone involved in the estate planning process. At this time, we are happy to again have in-person meetings, but we will continue to also offer phone and video conference estate planning meetings for non-document signing meetings.

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This article is intended as general legal information and not as legal advice to any particular client, nor is it intended as advice on any particular issue or matter. If you have any questions regarding the subject matter of this article, or wish to discuss how the subject matter of this article may apply to your situation, please contact us.