Updating Your Estate Planning

We are taking a break this week from our blogs about funeral planning to share some important news about estate planning document executions in the midst of our current COVID-19 situation.  The series on funerals will resume next week.      

Has the pandemic and its effects in the recent months caused you to think about your estate planning and some changes that you may be contemplating?  This pandemic has forced us to think about things we probably would not be thinking about otherwise.  But, as you mull those changes you might be wanting to make, you wonder about the logistics of how to make those changes, particularly with regard to the signing of new documents. 

In our “normal” world, the signing of estate planning documents require that they be signed in the presence of two witnesses and a notary.  In our current world of social distancing, this protocol has been relaxed somewhat and there are now options available for remote signings.  The requirements for remote signings vary from state to state but New Jersey has a protocol in place that allow for signings such as seeing a client sign through a glass window, the attorney visiting the doorway to a client’s home by placing the documents on a tray table in the doorway for signing, doing a “drive by” signing which is done with the person signing documents remaining in their car and the witnesses and notary observing from outside the vehicle, and the use of remote electronic meetings where the witnesses and notary are not necessarily anywhere near the person signing documents.  This has definitely been a time to get creative and yet be able to accomplish important matters which in the past were taken somewhat for granted. 

So, if you have been wanting to make changes to your estate planning but have felt that now is not the time, NOW really is the time to give your attorney a call to make those changes.  Putting off the changes only adds to the burdens of we are facing daily.  Lift those burdens by taking the steps to make changes to your estate plan and put your mind at ease. It can be done and is much simpler than you might think.

Stay safe, stay healthy.


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About the Author

Kay Sowa is a paralegal in the Trusts and Estates Group at Capehart & Scatchard, P.A. She is an IRS Enrolled Agent, an Accredited Estate Planner®, and a Certified Trust and Fiduciary Advisor. She oversees the trust and estate administration practice for the firm. She is an accomplished author and lecturer who has frequently spoken on behalf of a number of organizations including the National Business Institute and the Institute of Paralegal Education.

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