Gammello-Pearson is monitoring COVID-19 very closely. While we are taking precautions to keep our clients and team members healthy. We are also doing what we can to accommodate clients. Instead of in-office appointments we strongly encourage telephone conferences and meetings. We are still meeting with clients on a case-by-case basis. In cases warranting an in-person meeting or closing, we will use the following protocols:
- All in-person conferences or closings must be scheduled ahead of time. No in-person conference or closing will take place unless specifically scheduled and calendared.
- All conference rooms shall be cleaned and disinfected prior to a scheduled conference or closing.
- There will be a maximum of 3 chairs in each Conference Room. No Conference Room will be occupied by more than 3 people (including staff) with the exception of the signing of estate planning documents where witnesses are legally required. In the event that clients come into a scheduled appointment to sign their estate plan, then a maximum of 4 people will be permitted at one time (one notary, two witnesses and one signer). In cases of joint estate plans, both spouses will be permitted in the room.
- Upon arrival for their scheduled appointment, clients and signers will be directed to either a seating area or a Conference Room. No persons, including clients shall be permitted to wander or access other office areas. Persons not complying with this protocol will be promptly removed from our offices.
- During in-person conferences, signings, or closings, the objective is to remain six feet apart, so for example when signers move forward to sign documents, the closer, attorney, or staff moves back. When closer, attorney, or staff, move forward, signers move back.
- After each in-person conference or closing, all surfaces will be cleaned with disinfectant wipes/spray (table, chairs, and doorknobs – exterior and interior doors).
- Clients or signers executing documents will be asked to take the pen with them when they leave .
Protecting private health information
While the current environment has created unprecedented concerns for personal safety from COVID-19, we must also protect our clients’ rights to protect the privacy of their health information.
Court schedule changes
Courts remain open in Minnesota, but courts have drastically changed scheduled hearings and trials. Some Hearings are on hold while others are proceeding as necessary. We will keep our clients apprised of the status of their case as the information becomes available to us.
County Recorder office closings
Although most County Recorder offices remain open, they are almost exclusively processing e-recordings. Gammello-Pearson is able to submit e-recordings, but the process often takes a few extra days. However, County Recorders are working hard to being able to expedite e-recordings to the pre-Covid-19 standard.
Remote online notarization (RON)
At this time, Gammello-Pearson is working with software providers to facilitate remote online notarization.
Secure email and EDD are still required
With many people working remotely across the industry, this is a reminder that any emails containing confidential client information must be sent securely. This will often require an additional step to open encrypted documents, but we recommend using this protocol.