The evolving COVID-19 health crisis continues to be a challenge to everyone. Our clients should know that the legal matters we are assisting them with remain very important to us. We remain committed to providing clients with the same compassionate and effective counsel we are known for. Information regarding our firm, and the courts, is provided below to keep everyone in our circle up to date.
Antonelli & Antonelli is Operating at Full Capacity
On March 23, 2020, our offices transitioned to remote work in order to simultaneously protect the health of our staff and operate as closely to normal as possible. We are proud to say we have had no reduction in staff, nor in compensation, during this difficult time. We all remain here for you.
Tips on Communicating with Us
- While in-person appointments are suspended, we remain committed to prompt communication through a variety of media.
- We remain available by phone, email, fax, and mail. Further, video conference is now readily available.
- Please only communicate by mail if you are sending original documents and have previously discussed the mailing with us.
- FedEx or UPS is preferred.
- Please do not select 'signature required' as this could cause your mailing to be returned.
- To set up a conference:
- Call our main number at 212-227-2424; or
- Email me directly at [email protected].
- Follow us on on Facebook and on LinkedIn.
Continual Updates on Surrogate’s Court Operations as They Evolve
We have been keeping our clients updated in real-time with respect to Surrogate’s Court operations as the New York State and New York City court systems begin to reopen.
The most recent change in the New York City court system occurred on June 10, 2020 when our judges and limited staff returned to their assigned courthouses. Public in-person access to the courts remains limited to unrepresented parties who lack access to virtual technology.
Statewide, as of May 25, 2020, courts are accepting non-essential applications via e-filing. Previously, the Surrogate's Courts were only entertaining essential (or emergency) cases. This was a huge technological advancement considering that Queens was the only New York City county with e-filing capability prior to the coronavirus pandemic. However, New York City Surrogate's Courts are not yet providing court dates for non-essential applications. This means that petitions and motions requiring a court date will not yet be heard.
Further, uncontested COVID-related estate matters are now deemed essential and may be filed.
The next step in the reopening of the courts in New York City is unclear, but we can look to upstate counties that are further along in the reopening process for guidance. There, certain essential matters are being conducted in-person, and other matters are being heard virtually. Chief Judge Janet DiFiore stated:
"The goal of Phase 2 is to safely increase courthouse foot traffic in a gradual, controlled manner in order to begin returning to in-person operations, while doing all we can to prevent the spread of COVID-19."
The volume of judges and staff in New York City courts presents a special challenge specifically with respect to virtual technology. The technological implementation and training is likely to take longer than in upstate regions. Therefore, we can expect delayed access to virtual appearances and consequently a delay in the ability to file non-essential court applications.
We are keeping our clients updated as the courts progress. We receive updates from the local courts and from the State’s Chief Judge and Chief Administrative Judge, and we convey that information to our clients and potential clients in real-time via direct contact and through social media. You can follow us on Facebook and on LinkedIn to stay up-to-date.
Chief Judge DiFiore's video message and written transcript, from June 8, 2020, can be viewed HERE.
Contact Us to Discuss Your Estate Issue
If you would like to discuss how your estate issue may be affected by the evolving protocols, please contact us for a free consultation. And as always, reach out to us with any concerns you may have.
Very truly yours,
Daniel R. Antonelli