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Navigating COVID-19 Concerns While Managing Estate Planning

When it comes to the reality of COVID-19, we now have to address many different “what if” situations that were previously unheard of. While most of us are fortunate to have never actually gone through a pandemic of this magnitude before, it has definitely brought estate planning to the forefront, and law offices are now being flooded with calls regarding this important issue. COVID-19 has spurred many people on to either finally complete their estate planning options or to simply start them in the first place, and if you are in need of these services, here are some strategies you can use to help navigate this particularly difficult time.

You Are Able to Do Some of the Basic Estate Planning at Home

Your estate attorney will obviously have to file all of the paperwork officially later on, but you can take on some basic estate planning steps on your own in the comfort of your own home, thus, avoiding some of the risks associated with COVID-19. For example, you can make an appropriate inventory of all of your tangible and intangible assets, from real estate and collectibles to documentation of your checking accounts, savings accounts and stocks. To ensure that your family has all their needs met in the event of your passing, prepare powers of attorney, consider medical care directives, and make sure that all beneficiary designations have been updated.

Do as Much of Your Estate Planning Work as Possible on a Remote Basis

The beauty of this day and age is that you can still communicate with any interested parties regarding an estate on a remote basis. For example, the great majority of the work between you and your attorney can be done using such mediums as email, telephone, or video conferencing. Platforms such as Zoom or Skype can serve this purpose very well.

Get Creative When Meeting All of Your Signature Needs

When your probate lawyer is helping you prepare a last will and testament, there is no question that it will often require a fair share of signatures, and yes, this can be a bit more difficult when you have to plan for COVID-19 precautions as well. However, it isn’t necessary for everyone to show up in person to sign documents. Instead, it can be filled out with an online signature. Naturally, there might be times where there is no getting around having to sign the will in person at your attorney’s office. In this case, you should make sure that all parties use hand sanitizer, and you should make it a point to wear masks and practice social distancing while all of the required documents are being signed.

Be Very Careful With Your Notary Needs

Your estate planning litigation lawyer will invariably have things that will need to be notarized. The logistics of this can be somewhat difficult. While there are some small areas of the country that are beginning to experiment with online notarization of documents, this technology is still very new. For example, as of July 2020, the state of Florida is now allowing electronic wills. Moreover, there are statutes in Indiana and Nevada that allow for this as well.

Additionally, some jurisdictions are considering the possibility of suspending the notarization requirement for wills during this pandemic. In some cases, they may not require a will to be notarized at all for it to remain valid. Of course, another strategy would be to simply get your documentation finalized and get it ready for notarization when it is safer to do so. This is a good discussion to have with your estate planning attorney.

If you are looking for a solid estate planning litigation lawyer, then our dedicated staff here at the Knee Law Firm in Hackensack, New Jersey, is ready to serve you. Get in touch with us today by phone at 201-996-1200 or by using our website contact form.

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