Effect of COVID-19 On Estate Planning

Posted:  March 27, 2020

Last Updated:  July 8, 2020

On March 19, 2020, Governor Cuomo signed Executive Order 202.7, which authorizes notarial acts to be performed remotely in New York State, and which executive order was extended by Executive Order No. 202.28, issued on May 7, 2020, Executive Order 202.38, issued on June 6, 2020 and Executive Order 202.48, issued on July 6, 2020.  This executive order allows notarization through video conferencing, which means that Powers of Attorney, Trusts, Affidavits and deeds may still be executed and acknowledged in accordance with New York state requirements.  Any such video conference must allow for direct interaction between the person signing the documents and the Notary, and the person signing the documents must be physically present in New York State.  A legible copy of the signed document must be transmitted by fax or electronic means to the Notary on the date it was signed.  This authorization is in effect until August 5, 2020.

If you do not have estate planning documents in place, you may want to consider having those prepared now.  If you do have an estate plan in place, you may want to review these documents to see if anything needs to be updated.  In light of the COVID-19 emergency and the quarantine measures being implemented by health care facilities, you may want to consider revising your health care proxy to authorize your agent to communicate with health care providers via telephone, video conference, e-mail or other means, and to permit health care providers to accept such indirect forms of  communication/directives.

If you have questions on any of these matters, please do not hesitate to contact us for a free video or telephone consultation—our attorneys are available for video-conferences through Facetime, Skype and Zoom.