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New York Executive Order Permits Remote Witnessing of Wills

Published April 8, 2020

By Brian L. Miller, Esq., Littman Krooks LLP

As the COVID-19 crisis lingers, the interest of people seeking to prepare and/or update their estate planning documents has increased.  However, there is an inherent (and valid) concern of clients who have socially isolated themselves in compliance with the CDC directives.  As such, the Last Will and Testament and similar documents which required the signor sign in the physical presence of two uninterested witnesses have posed problems for estate planning attorneys throughout New York.

In light of the foregoing, on April 7, 2020, Governor Cuomo issued Executive Order 202.14 which allows for the remote witnessing of documents including the Last Will and Testament, Statutory Gifts Rider (which accompanies the Power of Attorney), Health Care Proxy, and Appointment of Agent to Control Disposition of Remains.

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To remotely execute your estate planning documents you simply need (1) a valid photo ID; (2) the ability conduct a video conference with Littman Krooks (i.e. use Zoom, Skype, Facetime, Google Hangout, etc. on your smartphone, computer or tablet); (3) the ability to take a picture of your signature pages and text, email or fax them to us the same day you sign them; and (4) send the original documents to us within 30 days.

With our ability to conduct a video or telephone consultation to discuss your wishes and desires, combined with the ability to remotely execute all of your estate planning documents, we can have your entire estate plan in place without you having to leave your house.  Moreover, unlike the many online DIY estate planning document services, the documents prepared by Littman Krooks will be properly executed and tailored to your individual needs and circumstances.

We understand that the daily challenges each of us face in these uncertain times.  However, we have seen the perils of people who have not planned, and people who improperly prepared and/or executed their estate planning documents. You do not want your loved ones to suffer the repercussions that are sure to follow.  If you have not created your estate plan, or need to amend your estate plan, now is the time to do so.  You can contact Littman Krooks to schedule a telephone or video consultation and discuss your estate planning needs.  We are able to offer evening and weekend appointments.

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