Under the present circumstances, when the motivation to complete an estate plan is at the forefront of one’s thoughts, formal legal requirements requiring in-person witnessing and notarization can hinder the ability of clients to execute their plans. To address these circumstances, Governor Cuomo and the governors of various other states have issued Executive Orders authorizing the remote execution of estate planning documents through audio-video conferencing technology.

Although this methodology allows practitioners to continue serving clients and relieves some of the anxiety clients are facing during the COVID-19 era, advisors are still encountering challenges in supervising the execution of clients’ estate planning documents. Estate planning clients who have fled congested city centers for more remote pastures create additional complexities, especially in those jurisdictions with different procedures for the execution of documents. Advisors will inevitably have to adopt new flexible approaches to advising clients during this period.

The above is an excerpt from the full article, which appears in the Summer/Fall 2020 Vol. 53 No. 3 edition of the New York State Bar Association Trusts and Estates Law Section Journal. Key topics covered in the full publication include:

  • Formal Will Requirements
  • Remote Notarization/Witnessing E.O.s
  • Administrative Challenges and Best Practices
  • Drafting Documents
  • Preparing for the Teleconference
  • During the Teleconference
  • Post-Teleconference Due Diligence
  • After the Dust Settles – Getting Back to the New Normal
  • Choice of Law Issues