The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a lot of people to think about their future. We have all been reminded of how unpredictable life is and while death is a sensitive and hard issue to discuss, it is important to think about estate planning so that you are prepared.
The first thing you need to do is have your will made by a professional. Lawyers and notaries are considered essential service providers, meaning they are open for business, so you can book an appointment to see them in person. Some firms are also using video conferencing to meet with their clients in certain circumstances, so reach out and ask. You will have to provide the lawyer or notary with copies of identification before your appointment if you are meeting remotely and you will be asked to show them original identification during the meeting so that they can compare it to their copy.
Lawyers and notaries will also have to assess the capacity of the client, meaning they may ask more questions than normal. They also have to determine whether any undue influence is being exerted by another person, so there are a lot more steps involved to ensure safety and accuracy. While the pandemic has made life more challenging, it is recommended that you attend in-person meetings if you can because that is the best way to provide instructions for wills.
You can also consider making your own will or using the assistance of a will kit. Such wills will still have to comply with the necessary requirements, and one of these requirements is that two people who are not beneficiaries or the spouses of your beneficiaries witness you signing your will. These witnesses must then sign your will in each other’s presence, which can be problematic during a pandemic because of the physical distancing requirements, so you may not be able to get two people to act as your witnesses.
If you have an old will and wish to modify it, you need to consult a professional because the process is not as simple as crossing out names and writing in new ones. If your will is from a prior time in your life and you’ve named an executor who is no longer living, you will have to make changes. The same is true if your will makes a gift of a property that you no longer own. To make these changes, consult a professional because they can advise you on how best to proceed.
The reality is that everyone is facing different circumstances that are personal and subject to change. This pandemic has caused a number of people to review their wills and to make changes and if this is something you are interested in doing, Wendy Fuller Notary Public can help. We offer notary services and can answer your questions regarding your wishes, so if you need more information, contact us today!