COVID-19 and Estate Planning

During these difficult times many people are worried that their estate plans are too little too late, or nonexistent. You can use this time to review your financial accounts and to insure your properties are properly titled for future transfers. It is important to keep your important information and documents together so your agents and/or fiduciaries can obtain them when necessary. Such information should include your passwords for banking and billing websites.

Although physically meeting an attorney is not viable during this period of the pandemic, it does not stop an attorney from talking to you about your goals and from reviewing your documents in place such as wills, health care proxies, living wills, power of attorneys, and transfer of property. Various telephone and video conference applications can allow you to discuss your situation with an attorney and other individuals such as a family member, or a financial consultant. During this time, your attorney can provide drafts of your estate planning documents for your review.

If there is a pressing need for certain documents, the Governor has signed an emergency executive order allowing the use of video for the witnessing and notarizing of documents. For example, although not simple, a will, could be signed and in effect without the necessary parties meeting in person.  However, this entails all parties are capable of video conferencing, and capable of printing, scanning, and transmitting signed documents.

In some cases, new and novel ways are being developed when video conferences cannot occur. For example, a residential house closing can take place in a parking lot. All necessary parties remain in their cars while the closer, wearing mask and gloves, obtains the necessary signatures and identifications from the parties. There is more to complete the closing but this allows for social distancing while completing the transaction.

The Corvid-19 virus irreversible changed and brought challenges to our lives. However, it has not stopped us from planning for the future. You can use this time wisely to ensure that your estate planning goals are reached.