While COVID-19 has forced most attorneys to meet with their clients over the telephone or via videoconferencing, some elder care attorneys are meeting in person in parking lots with their clients to handle their legal needs.
Connecticut elder care attorneys told the Connecticut Law Tribune Friday that their clients, who are especially vulnerable to the coronavirus, often have immediate needs in signing documents related to issues such as powers of attorneys and living wills.
When a signature is needed and a phone call is just not good enough, these attorneys say they will meet their client in the parking lots of assisted living or senior facilities. Or, if the client lives in a house or apartment and can drive, they will meet somewhere else.
“We keep a distance, follow proper protocol and only go out in emergency situations. But we will go out to meet with our clients if needed,” said attorney Jay Jaser of Milford-based Shoreline Elder Law.
“We are talking about them signing basic estate planning tools,” Jaser said. Jaser and other elder care lawyers said they will visit their clients, usually sitting in a car while their client is in the front entrance of their living facility. The client, Jaser said, will wear gloves and often have their faces covered.
Attorneys Lyn Eliovson and Christine Tenore of Fairfield-based Law Firm of Eliovson and Tenore said they will travel to the facility where their client is in lockdown and can, in many cases, also go to the entrance.
“We drive up outside their main entrance. We have a witness from our office with us and hand the client a clipboard with rubber gloves. They put on the gloves and, in many cases, have hats pulled down to their eyebrows.” Eliovson said Friday. “We tell them to bring their own pen and the clipboard has been wiped down with antibacterial wipes. Elder care attorneys all over the state are doing this now.”
Tenore said the in-person contact, even if it’s just to sign a document, “gives them piece of mind in knowing we are here for them. I actually had a client call to see if we were still going to be here to help them given the crisis we are in.”
The elder care attorneys say the in-person meetings are only to have their clients sign important and often time-sensitive documents.
In one case, Eliovson said, she met with a recently widowed client who signed documents giving Eliovson the legal authority to speak to her pension provider, who was not giving the widow the pension she was entitled to.
The work is done over the phone and via videoconference when in-person meetings are not warranted.
“These are often very anxious and nervous people,” Eliovson said. “They are often widowed and alone and their lives are topsy-turvy. This new world we live in is making them more unsettled. We want to give them piece of mind and the tools they need to get them through this.”