In this time of incredible uncertainty and stress, many people are eager to put an estate plan in place or perhaps update the one that has been on their to-do list for ages. In states such as Connecticut, with its “Stay Safe, Stay Home” orders from the Governor, it is unclear to many whether this planning can be accomplished. The good news is that technology, and a little bit of creativity, can make estate planning possible even in the current environment.
Many attorneys and firms are making efforts to severely limit or eliminate in-person meetings with clients. Although, under normal circumstances, in-person meetings are often the best option for planning conversations, there are other options being utilized, whether it is a simple phone call or a video chat via FaceTime or a video conferencing app. What works best for you depends on personal preference and the technology available to you.
How Do I Review My Documents?
After an initial conversation (or two) with your attorney, drafts will be put together for your review. Generally, drafts are sent via mail or email. If you have questions about the drafts, we can arrange any of the above communication options to review the documents in lieu of an in-person meeting.
What About Signing?
Perhaps the biggest challenge, under the circumstances, is the safe and efficient handling of document signings. One option is to delay signing until circumstances change; however, we understand the concerns that many people have about the uncertainty of the virus and realize the desire, by some, to sign documents sooner than later. If a decision is made to move forward with document signing rather than holding off, there are creative options to help achieve this. These options include the traditional in-person signing (with additional precautions); a “drive-by” signing (done while you remain in your vehicle); or a virtual signing (which takes some coordination, as witnesses to the signing must be in the physical presence of the person signing while an attorney supervises by video).
The Bottom Line
The rules are changing every day, but it is still possible to at least get the estate planning process started in the current environment. If you have questions, feel free to contact any of the attorneys in our Estate Planning department. And, for a more in-depth discussion of estate planning in general, listen to episode two of our podcast, Ounce of Prevention, in which Attorney Liz Hartery answers some frequently asked questions.