Coronavirus (COVID-19) Update:
May 11th, 2020 Update:
COVID-19 UPDATE: Governor Wolf Announces Lawyer’s May Open for Estate Planning and Other Emergency Services
Law firms have generally been closed to the public since the middle of March. However, on May 8th, 2020, Governor Tom Wolf’s office released the following declaration under which law firms are permitted to offer certain listed services, which we interpret to include estate planning. The declaration provides that:
“…[A]lthough law offices remain generally closed and lawyers and staff should continue to perform all work remotely to the extent possible, lawyers and staff may access physical offices on a limited basis as necessary to render legal services that cannot practically be completed through the use of advanced communication technology, and which are being rendered to comply with a court directive or deadline, or to meet client needs that are critical to the client’s health or safety, including, but not limited to, matters of healthcare, incompetence, incapacitation, end-of-life decision making, government benefits necessary to sustain life and access healthcare and income, or legal functions necessary for the operation of government at all levels. In addition, attorneys involved in real estate closings are authorized to carry out such in-person activity as is permitted under the Pennsylvania Department of State Limited Guidance for Real Estate Professionals, Appraisers, Notaries, Title Companies, and Home Inspectors. Any in-person activity shall be subject to the Orders of Secretary of Health providing for building safety measures (issued April 5, 2020) and business safety measures (issued April 15, 2020), including any amendments, and related Department of Health guidance.
The exception for legal services can be found here: https://www.scribd.com/document/452553026/UPDATED-5-30pm-May-8-2020-Industry-Operation-Guidance .” (emphasis added).
This is a significant development. We have been in regular communication with clients by telephone and audio-visual conference since mid-March. However, until now were not able to physically meet with clients in the legally required presence of witnesses and/or notaries to sign documents such as Wills, Trusts, Health Care Powers of Attorney, Living Wills and Durable Financial Powers of Attorney. We have reconfigured our waiting area with large tables, protective plexiglass screening and socially distant work stations and are fully equipped with personal protective gear and cleaning products. We have established what we believe is a safe and efficient means to quickly facilitate the proper execution of essential estate planning documents in a safe manner. Though we typically enjoy the exchange of pleasantries, we are forgoing handshakes and lengthy conversations in order to minimize contact between clients and staff and are spacing out appointments so that multiple clients are not on premises at the same time. We are doing everything we can to accommodate the needs of our clients in a way that is comfortable to our clients during this unprecedented time.
Our estate administration practice has continued without interruption. We were among the first law firms in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania, to conduct the “virtual probate” of a will through remote audio-visual communication technology. Thus, for those who have lost loved ones, our ability to assist executors, administrators and trustees with settlement of a decedent’s estate and related tax and court filings has not been impeded.
We will continue to post further developments as they arise.
March 24th, 2020 Update:
Worth, Magee and Fisher will remain open, albeit remotely, throughout the present crisis. Although we have suspended in-person office business, except in the few limited circumstances authorized by the Administrative Office of Pennsylvania Courts, we will be available by phone (610-437-4896), by email [email protected], [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected] ) and through our website (www.worthlawoffices.com) to serve our client’s needs.
For our tax clients, many of you are aware that the payment and filing deadlines for Federal and Pennsylvania Income Tax returns have been extended to July 15th, 2020. We are sensitive to the fact that many of you anticipate refunds and we are still processing returns as quickly as possible.
For transactional matters which require “person to person” contact (for example, signing a deed or estate planning documents “in the presence of” a notary and/or witnesses), we are not permitted to engage in these types of activities at the moment but are closely monitoring all developments under Pennsylvania Law. Some states have modified or suspended these requirements, but so far that is not the case in Pennsylvania.
As soon as there is a change, we will post it on our website and on this page. We thank all our clients for your patience and flexibility during this unusual situation. We encourage all of you to observe safety protocols and stay safe.
Helping You Find Solutions To Difficult Legal Issues
When faced with a legal issue, it can be extremely difficult to understand your position and all available options. The right solution for your specific circumstances is out there, but it takes the right attorney to help you get to that point.
At Worth, Magee & Fisher, we have been serving clients in Allentown, the Lehigh Valley and the surrounding communities for more than 60 years. Our lawyers each have nearly 30 years of experience in their respective practice areas and are highly skilled in finding creative solutions to match the needs of each client.
Our Clients Are At The Heart Of Everything We Do
When you work with our team, you can expect a level of professionalism, integrity and service that is not often found in other firms today. We respect the importance of the issues our clients face and will take your matter as seriously as you do. Throughout each step of the process, we will fully explain how the law applies to your case, so you will confidently make the best legal decisions for your specific matter.
Contact Our Pennsylvania Law Firm
At Worth, Magee & Fisher, practicing law is not just a job for our attorneys; we see it as a service to our fellow community members. Our firm has deep roots in the Lehigh Valley and the surrounding areas and is committed to helping all of our clients find legal solutions they can live with.
We invite you to learn more about our law firm, and then contact our Allentown lawyers at 610-674-0505 to schedule a consultation. Our firm has offices in Allentown and Lehighton, Pennsylvania. Both locations have convenient onsite parking and are ADA accessible.