Sheppard, Brett, Stewart, Hersch, Kinsey & Hill - June 2020

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We’re in This Together Responding to COVID-19 With Videoconferencing and Free Community Help

L ike many Jewish families, we were celebrating Passover this April while COVID-19 continued to effectively shut down our country, schools, restaurants, and economy. To say it was one of the more unique celebrations we have ever had would be an understatement. Our eldest daughter, Gabi, lives in NewYork City with her fiancé, Benji, and if you were following the news reports at that time, then you know that NewYork City was the epicenter of the COVID-19 crisis. Thankfully, Gabi and Benji have been staying with his parents just outside of the city in Montclair, New Jersey. As Passover approached and the restrictions around COVID-19 changed rapidly, we hoped against hope that we could bring Gabi down for Passover. Sadly, it wasn’t possible. But one of the blessings of this pandemic is the time in which this is all happening. We live in a digital age, and while it wasn’t the same as having her home, we were able to videoconference Gabi in to our Seder celebration. As we said our goodbyes, I could see the sadness she felt over being away fromher family during such a celebratory time. We all missed her, but we’re glad she was able to stay safe. We were very happy that our two younger daughters, Courtney and Madison, were able to join us for Passover Seder. In fact, Courtney and Madison temporarily moved back home during the pandemic lockdown. Of course, I love havingmy daughters home, but I’m sure they miss college and the freedom of daily life. (At the time of writing this, they had to come to work with their dad to use theWi-Fi at the office, as the internet connection in our neighborhood was out!)

As it became increasingly evident that COVID-19 was going tomake a significant impact on our lives, we at The Sheppard Law Firm knewwe had to take action to protect our team and clients. We began by sending a few of our employees home and limiting our in-office staff to a skeleton crew. At the same time, we considered what we could do to protect our clients. While we’ve always had the ability to videoconference, following the impact of COVID-19, we made this the preferredmethod of meeting with each other and our clients. In fact, we really ramped up our technology use during the pandemic. Of course, technology couldn’t cover everything we need to do for clients on a daily basis. To combat this, we began offering drive-up signings and witnesses who would stand within a safe distance to oversee the signing. Overall, the measures we took were well-received by our clients and staff, and I am very grateful for how smooth and effective the transition went. We also recognized that our expertise could be utilized during this trying time. The very nature of the pandemic meant more people were getting sick and facing death, and thus there has been a great need to ensure everyone’s medical arrangements are in order. To help with this, we have been preparing a designation of a health care surrogate—someone trusted who canmake medical decisions for a patient in the event the patient is unable to do so—and a living will, which outlines the wishes a patient would have in these situations, free of charge for those who do not have these documents. These decisions are important at any time, but the COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated the need for the documents outlining them, and we wanted to give back to the community with the expertise we have to offer. That’s why we are offering this free of charge. If you know someone whomay be in need of these documents, please direct them to We are all in this fight together and reeling from the effects of this virus. Whether you had to videoconference into family events or are suffering the loss of something greater as a result of COVID-19, know that our thoughts are with you at this time.

Stay safe and be well.

– Craig Hersch

1 (239) 265-9779

June 2020

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