Update June 11, 2020
Several weeks have passed since our last update. In it, we shared with you our decision to continue observing social distancing when providing our services and when taking care of our clients. I just so happens that around the middle of last month the optimism for reopening the economy was so high that we were actually witnessing that the majority of people were having a certain disdain and contempt of such magnitude for using social distancing and cautionary measures to avoid getting infected with the now infamous coronavirus that we thought it was not going to turn out well. In fact, it has been reported that only 40% of the population is wearing face masks when outside.
For instance, the news today show that in the last week alone Arizona has had new virus cases that equal 25% of the total of cases reported since the beginning of the pandemic. Also, the local authorities in Houston have announced that they are very close to renewing their stay-at-home orders given that Texas has had an average of 1,800 new cases everyday for the last week, although in the last two days, the number has risen to about 2,500. For its part, California has had an average of 3,000 new virus cases in the last week.
If the majority of the people do not start to be conscientious about the reality of the virus, and start using face masks all the time while outside, washing their hands frequently, and using social distancing, we think that the problem could become even more catastrophic than what the pandemic has been to date. For our part, we will continue with our own preventive measures and will continue providing our services via telephone and video conference only.
Update May 20, 2020
This week the State of Texas continues to lift restrictions to reactivate the economy by allowing the reopening of beauty salons and barbershops to the public, as well as for retailers to open their doors for indoor shopping, and allowing restaurants and bars to do the same with certain restrictions. Regardless, the number of new positive virus cases have increased more than 26% although this could be attributed to an increase in testing of more than 40% that has shown only a 1% decrease in new positive cases compared to the previous week. As part of the tracing efforts, the State of Texas has published a website for people to find all testing centers in the state, including drive-thru centers, and also the possibility for all people that have tested positive to register for the government to trace the people the person that tested positive has been in contact with.
In the case of California, this state has been more strict due to the size of its population and the number of positive cases that have been registered to date. On Monday, the Governor of California, informed that during phase 2 of the reopening of the economy the state would allow restaurants to open for take-out and drive-thru orders, only. Each county, however, has different restrictions and freedoms depending on the number of new positive cases compared to the previous week. This means that there are counties that have been able to lift the restrictions for shops and malls, while others like Los Angeles, it still not able to open restaurants even for take-out or drive-thru orders.
Regardless of the actions taken by the different state governments to reopen the economy, the majority of people that are in the streets to supposedly purchase essential goods and services, are still not using face masks and are failing at maintaining a safe and appropriate social distance with others. So, until we see a noticeable improvement or a substantial reduction in the number of new positive cases consistently, at MEG International Counsel, we will continue providing our services remotely.
Update May 6, 2020
The following video contains my participation in the forum sponsored by Ingenium Development in Miami, appropriately named Family Offices in These Challenging Times. I shared the webinar with a good friend and colleague from Venezuela, and expert in international taxation and its application to family offices in Latin America, as well as next to Carmen de Quintana, a family psychologist. I hope it is of your interest.
Update April 28, 2020
As many of you have heard already, several states, including Texas, have decided to begin lifting health restrictions and allow people to go anywhere freely. However, in the case of Texas, certain businesses such as restaurants, movie theaters and shopping malls are being allowed to re-open as long as they limit their services to 25% of their capacity. The second phase will be released on May 18, approximately, at which time other types of businesses will be considered for re-opening. While we understand the reasoning behind the government's decision, we find it unjustified especially given the lack of wide testing and tracing, and the government's inability to enforce the new restrictions not to mention the high probability of a new outbreak or spike in the virus contagion.
For its part, California is maintaining its stay-at-home order indefinitely until further notice. There is speculation that it will last until the end of May, at least.
Based on this, not only will we be avoiding those businesses lifting restrictions, but we will use extreme caution when going to the grocery store, and will continue to take care of, and service, our clients via phone calls and vide conferences only.
Update April 21, 2020
In the next video, I interview Jorge García, Managing Director of Garcia Barrett & Associates, an international accounting firm in San Diego, CA regarding the economic stimulus programs by the federal government to counter the COVID-19 pandemic.
Payroll Protection Program (PPP)
To complete the Payroll Protection Program (PPP) application on line, each employer or professional has to apply through a retail bank. Some banks are only accepting applications from their current clients like Bank of America. However, here are the links to some of the most well-known banks:
JP Morgan Chase: https://recovery.chase.com/cares1
U.S. Bancorp/U.S. Bank: https://apply.usbank.com/applications/business/InquiryForm
Economic Injury Disater Loan (EIDL)
To complete the Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL) application online: https://covid19relief.sba.gov/#/
Update April 13, 2020
Fortunately, our daughter Arianna returned home safely on Saturday afternoon. Now, she gets to be quarantined at home in San Diego to avoid giving the virus to anyone in case she has brought it with her from France. In the meantime, we also are doing our bit staying home and working remotely as we have been for some time now.
Update April 10, 2020
France continues to extend and restrict even more its quarantine periods that it is only allowing people to leave their homes for up to an hour per day to either go to the grocery store, the pharmacy, or the bank. So today, our daughter Arianna, author of Arianna's Kitchen in our newsletter La Matraca Legal, called us asking for help because she has already been in quarantine for a month by herself in Paris, France where she was studying until the Coronavirus arrived. Fortunately, we were able to find her a flight for tomorrow morning to Los Angeles, and we are hoping she will be home by tomorrow afternoon to start another quarantine period. To receive the next issue of our printed newsletter, register here.
Unfortunately the lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) for healthcare workers is a generalized problem all over the country, just as has been witnessed first-hand by Texas lawyer and nurse, Jim Mullen, who is currently volunteering at a hospital in New York City. In an article published today by the ABA Journal Weekly Newsletter, Jim relates his amazement at this lack of PPE in the U.S. He also mentions that he rotates 3 or 4 N95 facemasks every three days and then he puts them in a brown paper bag for another 3 days to make sure the coronavirus becomes inert since it only has a 3-day living cycle. You can read his story here.
Also, every day there are more regional and national law firms that are massively furloughing or firing attorneys and other staff, and others are substantially reducing pay and benefits of their employees, associates, and partners.You can read more here.
Update April 9, 2020
At MEG International Counsel we continue working at 100% capacity. Who would have thought that our infrastructure and business model implemented almost 10 years ago was going to be key for every law firm and service business during a pandemic like the one threatening us today?
As it has been made public by the different printed and digital communications media, our services are more necessary than ever by everyone that is or could be at risk of being exposed to the Coronavirus. Because of it, we are only scheduling appointments via telephone and video conference to not only follow our own business model, but also to comply with the government-mandated stay-at-home orders, and to contribute to the flattening of the contagion curve of COVID-19, as fast as possible.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) and Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
Also, we are preparing an interview for next week with Jorge Pacifico Garcia, Managing Partner at Garcia Barret & Associates, an international accounting firm in San Diego, CA, who will be explaining to us what is needed for, and how to complete, the application to have access to the federal government's assistance programs.
This interview will be recorded on video so that everyone has an opportunity to view it at their own time and pace, and if you have any additional questions or concerns, we will also provide you with his contact information for follow up discussions.
Update April 8, 2020
Technology is very important these days
As many of you know, we at MEG International Counsel have been working remotely for many years due to the nature of our practice, because the great majority, so as not to say the totality, of our clients reside outside the Untied States or at least, outside the Houston and San Diego areas. Since we started our life project we have been preparing, albeit unknowingly, to offer our services remotely to our clients during this time of social distancing. Since the inception of our law firm, we have been using cutting-edge technology which has been tested and proven over many years that we don’t have to improvise systems, methods, practices or services.
As we have indicated in previous posts, you can download statutory forms for appointment of medical and business agents here, but estate planning is much broader than this.
The MEG Process℠
For us, estate planning is much more than just a list of documents that need to be drafted and signed. Thus, we created The MEG Process℠ several years ago that allows our clients to ensure that we will get to know them and their families, as well as their concerns and objectives that frequently result in more planning alternatives and better outcomes.
Get legal help to prepare your estate plan
For instance, an estate plan entails not only the drafting of a will describing who gets what, who will be appointed guardian of your minor children, who will be appointed as administrator of your estate, or the preparation of advanced health care directives and durable powers of attorney in case you become disabled, but it also entails many other details such as what will happen if one of your beneficiaries decides to accept only part of asset and not the other, or if the person to be appointed as guardian or administrator does not want to accept, or what will happen if your spouse is not a U.S. citizen or resident, etc.
You also need to anticipate that you must sign your will in the presence of two witnesses, and depending on the jurisdiction, that it be signed in the presence of a notary public to avoid validity issues in the future, as well as to anticipate what will happen if you only have a will but the courts are closed and your beneficiaries do not have access to your bank accounts or control of your business until they open their doors again in a month or more?
Lastly, we would like to remind you that our annual maintenance program, MEG Cares℠ is included for the first year after we deliver your plan, and is a valuable service that ensures that your estate plan will continue to meet your needs for the rest of your life. To learn more about MEG Cares℠, click here.Calls today at