The Impact of COVID-19 on Estate Planning | [Updated 4/27/2020]

Estate planning is a difficult topic to discuss and the Covid-19 Crisis has made it both more difficult and more necessary. The information below describes the ways in which we can help with your estate planning needs during the Covid-19 pandemic. PLEASE DO NOT TRY TO CHANGE YOUR EXISTING PLAN (BY MARKING IT UP OR USING AN INTERNET WILL) WITHOUT A LAWYER. Now, more than ever, it is important that your estate plan be professionally prepared. We can help you to make sure your plan is effective to meet your needs during this difficult time.

SIGNING NEW ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENTS. (UPDATED APRIL 27, 2020)

As of April 27. 2020, Governor Wolf changed the rules for in person meetings to allow for signing estate planning documents. In order to comply with the new guidance, Friedman Schuman attorneys will handle the in-person estate planning meetings in the way designed to protect your health and safety and the health and safety of the firm’s employees. These meetings will be kept as brief as possible, with all attendees wearing masks. You will be asked to bring your own pen. If you want to have the meeting at your home, please discuss that with your attorney. These meetings are for signing; meetings to discuss your estate plan will still be handled remotely.

If an in-person signing meeting is not possible for any reason, it is still possible for us to send you some of your documents for signatures to ensure validity and protect your plans. For example, we can: Prepare new or revised documents for you.

  1. Email or mail the estate planning documents to you for signing.
  2. Supervise the execution of those documents by phone or video conference.

New Wills or Codicils can be signed without witnesses and notaries. Please note however, Powers of Attorney still require witnesses and a notary. Your ability to sign a new POA may therefore be limited if you cannot attend an in-person meeting.

PROVIDING COPIES OF EXISTING ESTATE PLANNING DOCUMENTS.

For our existing clients, as part of the estate planning process, when you signed your Will, you also signed Power of Attorneys (POA) for both financial matters and for health care. These documents were kept electronically by the firm and, if requested, were emailed to you. If you want copies of your estate planning documents, either for an emergency or to review your estate plan, call the attorney you worked with on your estate planning.

  1. We can provide you or your Agent with a copy of your POA by email or mail.
    PLEASE NOTE: If your Agent is calling, the Agent should be prepared to provide some independent verification that your medical condition requires that the Agent act. This is to protect you from abuse of the POA.
  2. We can provide you with copies of your other Estate Planning documents such as your Will or Trusts by email or mail.

REVIEWING YOUR ESTATE PLAN.

Although the current situation may make in-person meetings impossible, thankfully the advent of new technologies makes virtual conferences possible. And there is always the telephone. These technologies allow us to:

  1. Review your existing signed documents and discuss them with you by phone or video conference (Facetime, Skype, Zoom).
  2. Prepare revised documents and mail or email them to you.