Sorry about this article coming out a little late. Like the rest of the world, we are trying to adjust to the hour-by-hour changes of the COVID-19 reality we're currently in.
First, we are here to help. Let us know if you or your clients need anything. We are going to try to address a few thoughts about how to help your clients now during this crisis.
Virtual Planning for You and Your Clients
If you have someone who needs an estate plan or needs to have their plan reviewed, we can help. We can do virtual consultations either by phone or via the myriad of video conferencing tools that are available. The most vulnerable clients are no doubt the most stressed out about their situation. If you have a concern, please send us an email and we will see what we can do to help.
With the social distancing rules in place, signing the estate plan is a little more complicated. Throughout the country you can see each state grapple with how to help people sign their estate plans.
Some attorneys are creating "drive-up" signings. The process is a little complicated to explain. First, the lawyer reviews the documents with the client virtually through a videoconference.
The actual signing requires witnesses and a notary. So, this is how the drive-up signing works. Imagine a conference room (or card table) in the parking lot. The client drives up to the table.
The lawyer and their staff step away to practice social distancing. The client signs and gets back in the car. Members of the firm witness the documents and then notarize. The client then leaves. The originals are scanned by the law firm, and then they are either picked up or delivered to the client. No doubt it's a creative solution.
Virtual Witnessing and Notarization-A New Trend
The hottest trend we are seeing is the virtual witnessing and notarization via video. For example, Florida's Supreme Court passed an order authorizing virtual notarization. New Jersey, Colorado, and other state legislatures have passed laws in the past week adapting this idea to the law to help citizens stay safe, while trying to reduce the possibility of testamentary fraud.
Obviously, doing a live workshop over coffee or lunch for your clients is impossible today. However, we are finding that many clients are open to the idea of an educational webinar. Just let us know, and we can get on the phone to discuss it.
Here to Help-Just Reach Out
COVID-19 is testing everyone and everything. We are doing our best at figuring out what we can do to help our clients.
We, and other lawyers across the country, are adjusting hourly to determine how to help our clients do estate planning in a virtual environment. We are learning something new every day on how to make this work.
We will keep you updated on anything we learn that we can pass on to you. As your client's financial representative, you can be the last line of defense for your client.
We hope this information is useful to you and helps your clients and their families. If you have a specific case or a question, please don't hesitate to call our office. As always, feel free to call us for further advice or to share your ideas.