Estate Plan Signing While Safer at Home


Although it is standard practice to have a Trust and many other Estate Planning documents notarized, there are only a few documents that require a notary to be effective. For example, there is no legal requirement that a Trust be notarized. Compare a Durable Power of Attorney using the statutory form (the form most commonly used and recognized) which must be notarized. Note that a Durable Power of Attorney other than the statutory form is valid with two signatures. An Advance Health Care Directive can be notarized, but if a notary is not available, it is valid with two signatures instead. Other documents that require a notary are Deeds and Certifications of Trust.

Finding a notary or even obtaining two witnesses can be a challenge under current circumstances. Estate Planning attorneys are finding "work arounds" to assist their clients with proper execution. Signings are happening with face masks and gloves at "Safe Distance" on the porch at the client's home or at the street curb outside the attorney's office. For clients in a nursing facility unable to receive visitors, with generous assistance of nursing home staff, attorneys are presiding over signings outside the window,communicating with the client inside by phone. Even under "Safer At Home" directives, attorneys are creatively overcoming obstacles to make sure their clients' Estate Plan documents are properly executed, witnessed, and notarized, as applicable.


Distance” on the porch at home or at the street curb outside the attorney's office. For clients in a nursing facility unable to receive visitors, with generous assistance of nursing home staff, attorneys are presiding over signings outside the window, communicating with the client inside by phone. Even under "Safer At Home" directives, attorneys are creatively overcoming obstacles to make sure their clients' Estate Plan documents are properly executed, witnessed, and notarized, as applicable.


Planning Ahead Column:

By Lisa Alexander, Esq.

Jakle & Alexander, LLP,

1250 Sixth Street, Suite 300, Santa Monica, CA 90401

Main Line: 310-395-6555

alexander@jaklelaw.com

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