March 16, 2020
To our clients:
North Carolina has declared a state of emergency in its efforts to stem the spread of COVID-19. The Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court has canceled most of the state’s courts for the next thirty days. We want you to know what that means for your matter and for our office.
- We are still working, are still available to speak with you and are still handling your matter. While we are working, to help stop the spread of COVID-19, we will be taking steps to minimize exposure potential for you as well as for us. To do that, we will schedule all meetings as telephone conferences including all initial client consultations and send documents electronically for review unless we specifically need you to execute documents before a notary. For many of you, this will not be a change and we hope that whether we work in our office or remotely, you will not be inconvenienced.
- For any matter scheduled to be heard in court, a new court date will be scheduled by our clerk’s office or by us. We will notify you when a new court date is set.
- Documents still can and must be filed timely. Therefore if you have an estate accounting to file or an answer due in a civil matter, those documents are still due on the date we have already given to you or at the time we will give to you. All documents that are to be provided either to us or to an opposing party through the discovery process are still due.
- For emergency matters only, we can still ask a judge for relief. Therefore if you were to need help for an emergency, the courts are still available. However, we have been instructed to limit our time in court and only to seek relief if absolutely necessary. The memo from the Chief Justice which accompanied her order closing courts gave us this instruction “… the spirit of my order is to drastically reduce the foot traffic in all of our courthouses across the state. … Put simply, it cannot be business as usual for our court system. Non-essential court functions that cannot be accomplished through the use of remote technology must be postponed.”
- Here is the link from the North Carolina Supreme Court if you would like to read the Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court’s order for further information: https://www.nccourts.gov/assets/news-uploads/COVID-19-13-March-2020-7A-39%28b%29%282%29-Order_0.pdf?sCe0Me_YaLJBPjYl4doVvi4r_4Sm1Zbn=.
- To minimize disruptions and continue to serve you as planned, we are adopting the following plan for the next thirty days:
- As stated above, only telephone meetings except for matters which require execution of documents before our notary. For most documents, we will give you the option of coming here or of making use a notary more convenient to you.
- If you need to make a Last Will and Testament, we are here to help you with that process. However, please understand that a written attested will must be signed in the presence of two witnesses and before a notary public. Therefore, your exposure to a minimum of three other people is required as is their exposure to you. The signing can be at our office, or we can come to your home. Please call us, and we will discuss the safest and best approach for you and us.
- At any that you have any health concerns, please call us to set a telephone meeting or to change any appointment you have until you feel you are able to travel to us.
- While we understand that school is not in session in North Carolina for the next two weeks it is important that if you have to come to our office that you do not bring anyone else with you. Minimizing exposure is the key to slowing disease progression so if you have to come in, do not bring children, other family members or friends with you to your appointment.
We are trying to keep you and everyone else safe while continuing to serve your needs. Please be patient with us if it takes longer to reach us or to hear back from us during these unusual times.
If you have any questions, your best option is to reach us through email or to leave a message in our voicemail. Our response times are going to go up but we will endeavor to reach you as soon as is possible.
The attorneys and staff of Stroud and Panetti, P.C.
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Keith Stroud and Eleanor Panetti are licensed to practice law in the State of North Carolina. While the content found in the https://stroudandpanetti.com website is meant to be informative, it is not legal advice and its intended relevancy is only to matters that fall under the purview of North Carolina law.
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