Estate Planning Challenges During Corona Virus Pandemic Overcome


Estate plans Generally require three steps:

  1. Planning
  2. Signing
  3. Completing

Normally this requires meetings with an attorney to design the plan. It can also involve the signing at the lawyer’s office with two witnesses and notary.

While this is preferred method of creating an Estate Plan, these steps can all be handled remotely and still be legally binding estate plan.

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1. Planning During Coronavirus Outbreak

My office is observing social distancing practices. Meetings are held on the telephone or through video conferencing. The online questionnaires are also useful. You will receive counseling regarding what documents and strategies are best in your circumstance. The plan will include one or more of the following:

An Advanced Healthcare Directive

(Living Will)

These are instructions to your family and doctors concerning the measures you want taken or not taken at the end of your life. You may choose to have treatment continued, restricted or discontinued.

Financial, Property and Healthcare Powers of Attorney

For many this is one of the most important documents to have in place.

This document allows somebody to act on your behalf if you become unable to do so for yourself due to incapacity, illness, hospitalization. It is also useful if you are unable to act for yourself if you are confined or physically unable to do so.

Last Will and Testament

This instructs how your property is to be distributed upon your death and who will be in charge. There is a way to create a valid Will even if you are unable to have witnesses or a notary.

Living Revocable Trust

A revocable trust can address many situations and avoid probate and add protections for your family. Trusts are popular because they are simple and they work. Also onerous probate procedures are avoided.

HIPAA Medical Privacy Release

This allows loved ones or anybody else you choose to have access to your medical information.

2. Signing Safely During Pandemic

We have developed a couple of ways to have your documents signed. Some documents do not require a witness or notary.

  1. Many documents can be signed in the comfort of your own home without any witnesses or notaries.
  2. We are also witnessing documents curbside at our office so that our clients never leave their vehicle.
  3. If you are unable to leave your home or facility a remote notary or mobile notary may be used. This can be done at a window with no contact.

3. Completing

Once the documents are properly executed, you will have instructions regarding your next steps. This may involve providing copies of documents to certain individuals such as doctors and family members. If a trust is created you may need to contact various companies to inform them that a trust was set up.

After the Crisis

Once the crisis has passed, many may want to revise their plan. Some may wish to re-sign certain documents before witnesses to take advantage of special statutes.