Everyone needs an estate plan. But with COVID-19 restrictions, preparing one might seem difficult or even impossible. By adapting to our current limitations and harnessing technology, contactless estate planning is a reality.
Face-to-Face Estate Planning Was the Norm
Before COVID-19, attorneys usually met with their clients in person. Connecting was especially crucial for something as personal as estate planning. Also, preparing an estate plan can be challenging, especially for high net worth estates or complex family situations.
At an initial meeting, lawyers ask questions and review their clients’ goals. Afterward, the lawyer prepares estate planning documents that achieve those goals. When the documents are in a final form, attorneys and clients meet to sign them in the presence of a notary.
Social distancing, office shutdowns, and government restrictions have complicated life for attorneys and clients alike.
We are currently in the green phase for reopening the state. Guidelines for businesses include:
- Teleworking whenever possible
- Requiring everyone to use masks
- Observing social distancing
- Limiting occupancy and the size of gatherings
Yet, it is still important for attorneys and their clients to have personal interaction.
Contactless Estate Planning Has Changed the Face of Estate Planning
At Slutsky Elder Law, we understand the challenges faced by our clients. They need help with legal matters while also dealing with serious health concerns. We are using the following tools to help make contactless estate planning happen:
- Phones. Before COVID-19, in-person meetings were the norm. Phone consultations were possible, just not preferred. Now, we have increased the use of phone consultations. If you need help, please contact us to set up a meeting.
- Video. After the coronavirus hit, courts began using video technology to hold court hearings. We also now offer client consultations through a platform called Zoom. Connecting through Zoom allows us to have the next best thing to an in-person meeting. It’s even to have long-distance and multi-party conferences.
As we mentioned above, some estate planning documents must be signed before a notary public. Notaries previously were prohibited from notarizing documents unless the signer appeared in person. However, Governor Wolf signed a law allowing remote online notarization on April 20, 2020. This law is temporary and will expire “60 days after termination or expiration of the COVID-19 disaster emergency issued by Governor Wolf.”
Contactless Estate Planning is Possible
Estate plans are as important as they were before the coronavirus public health emergency. We just had to develop new ways of preparing and executing estate planning documents. You do not have to let the fear of contracting COVID-19 prevent you from preparing or updating your estate plan.
Trust your future to someone who has deep experience advising clients about estate planning. Attorney Robert Slutsky has helped countless people find solutions that work for their individual situations.
For a listing of skilled nursing and rehabilitation facilities please check out our Chester County PA Elder Law Directory and Senior Guide online at: