Estate Planning During COVID-19, Part 1

Estate Planning During COVID-19, Part 1

Photo by Jonathan Coffin

Part 1:  Getting it done.

With the Coronavirus on our minds, many of us are thinking about things we’ve avoided, such as wills and trusts. Having a will or trust can create peace-of-mind. It is important for you to know that when you die, your assets will be distributed as you wish in the shortest amount of time with the least amount of cost and trouble.  Having an advanced health care directive and designating someone to speak for you if you can’t make your own health care decisions has never been more important. Designating a durable power of attorney for your financial matters is extremely helpful during any period of physical or mental incapacity.

But how do you create those important documents during a pandemic?

Many attorneys and law offices are set up with “virtual offices” so they can consult with you over the phone and by using video technology.  Documents can be created and shared electronically or via mail services. So, estate planning can continue as usual, at least to the point of signing your documents.

Perhaps the biggest estate planning challenge during a stay-at-home order is obtaining the signatures of witnesses and the notarization of documents. For example, California law requires two disinterested witnesses who are present together to witness the testator’s signing or statement of intention regarding his/her will. This can be accomplished during COVID-19, by using social distancing and sanitary procedures.

It is a best practice to have your trust notarized. The State of California is allowing notaries to continue mobile notary services during the stay-at-home order, as long as they follow all prescribed health and safety procedures. Notary services are also available at shipping and packaging stores whose businesses have been deemed critical infrastructure.

The Coronavirus is pressing us to find solutions to problems we never had before. During this stay-at-home order, it’s important to plan for the unexpected, and that includes estate planning. I hope this is helpful and I am here to help you navigate this, but please read the disclaimer below.

I wish you and your family health and wellness.

DISCLAIMER: The information provided in this blog article is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. Use of and access to this information does not create an attorney-client relationship between the Law Office of Margaret T. Healy and the user or browser.

Margaret T. Healy is licensed to practice law in the State of California only and maintains offices in the County of Los Angeles. Any and all information published in this blog article is specific to the State of California and may not apply in your state.