Creating an estate plan in 2019 might have looked a little bit like this: you and your spouse or partner, perhaps along with your adult children, would make an appointment at the office of Baton Rouge estate planning lawyers to go over your plans. A few weeks later, you’d have another meeting with the attorney to design the documents the attorney would create. And then, a few weeks after that, you’d return to the office and sign all of your documents in a room with the lawyer, two witnesses, and a notary public.
Obviously, this is not the case in 2020: the era of the coronavirus.
The demand for comprehensive estate plans is greater than in previous years, as many people are confronting their mortality in the face of this global pandemic. Unfortunately, the landscape has changed as far as how people in the community can interact with their lawyer and get their estate plan completed.
In-person appointments have mostly been replaced with Zoom meetings, which may actually make it a lot easier for adult children who live all over the country to attend the appointment with their parents. And while it might be a little harder to get those important financial documents needed for estate planning, many documents are now available online and can be emailed to your estate planning attorney to move the process along.
But what about when it comes time to sign your documents?
Unfortunately, Louisiana is not one of the many states that have relaxed the rules around witnesses and notarizations to comply with social distancing and shelter-in-place orders. While some states now allow remote witnessing of the Last Will and Testament, Living Will, and Power of Attorney documents, as well as real property deeds, Louisiana still requires an in-person signing complete with a notary and two witnesses.
Make sure you know how your attorney plans on handling these in-person signings. Some attorneys are still completing signings in their offices, while others are sending your documents to you and letting you take them to a notary yourself.
If you have any questions about setting up an estate plan right now, or if you’d like to have your existing estate plan reviewed in order to make sure it is set up properly for your situation, please contact our law firm at (225) 744-0027 to schedule a consultation with one of our Baton Rouge estate planning lawyers.