COVID-19 has brought estate planning to forefront for many people. Whether you are a front-line first responder, a parent with college age children or you have one or more aging parents, this crisis as probably caused to wonder:
“What if ….”
In a prior post I suggested verifying whether you have a current Durable Power of Attorney, Advanced Medical Directives, and a Last Will and Testament. This post provides information about what to do if you don’t have these documents.
Connecticut, like most states generally provides for the formalities for proper execution of those documents. Wills require two witnesses. Powers of Attorney usually require two witnesses one of whom must be a notary (or a Commission of the Superior Court – a lawyer). Advance Directives usually require two witnesses. Wills and Advance Directives don’t need to be notarized, but it is generally a good idea for the witnesses provide notarized affidavits regarding the execution of the document.
Typically, if you wanted these documents you’d sit down with your lawyer, and discuss what these documents do, and who you want in the key roles. Stay at home orders and social distancing prevents doing things the way we used to.
Wisely, Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont has temporarily permitted online remote notarization to allow notaries (and lawyers) to perform their functions remotely and eliminated the need for witnesses on all documents, except for wills. And Connecticut now allows for witnesses to be remote as well. It’s a bit more complicated than just stopping into the office to sign, but it’s not rocket science.
Many attorneys’ offices are continuing to work remotely. You can meet with your lawyer via Zoom or other video platform to go over what the documents do and who you want in the key roles, all from the comfort and safety of your home. Once the documents are set, your lawyer can set up a remote execution (signing) and you can sign from home as well.
So, if you want to create and sign these documents, but you’d prefer to do this remotely, with this temporary order you can, at least until June 23, 2020 (when the current order expires).
The bottom line: COVID-19 shouldn’t stop you from getting these critical documents in place.