COVID has caused a lot of changes in our everyday lives and is changing the way many of us do business. While many things can be done remotely by telephone or over video-chat, certain tasks are best accomplished in person. Typically, signing your estate planning documents was done in person, in front of two witnesses and a notary. That is changing, some.
Remote Will Signings
Iowa is currently under a Disaster Proclamation that, for the duration of the proclamation only, allows individuals to remotely witness a will signing through video-conference such as FaceTime or Zoom. In a case where an individual was in a care facility or hospital and could not receive visitors, remote witnessing allowed the individual to properly sign their estate planning documents with their attorney “present.” Iowa now allows a document to be notarized remotely as well, though there are strict requirements, including use of a specified service to record the transaction.
Even though we can remotely sign, it isn’t always the preferred method. In those cases, we have gotten creative. One option is to sign in a large conference room, with everyone taking the appropriate safety precautions and distancing themselves.
Drive-Thru Will Signings
Another option is what we refer to as a “Drive-Thru Signing.” This has worked very well with many clients, allowing the clients to stay in their car, with the witnesses watching through the car windows. All parties are socially distanced, and the client and witnesses do not need to enter any buildings, touch door handles, or share elevator space. Luckily the weather has generally cooperated so far, although this might not be a feasible or fun option in the middle of winter!
If you are looking to update or start fresh with new estate planning documents, but are concerned with potential exposure, contact your attorney about a Drive-Thru Signing.
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