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Signing and Notarizing Your Estate Documents During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Posted by Sergio White | Apr 30, 2020 | 0 Comments

During a pandemic, many people search for areas of their life that they can control. This is why we see people buying food and toilet paper in bulk. It is one area where everyone believes that they have some control. Additionally, attorneys are reporting that there is an increase in requests for estate planning documents. COVID-19 has reiterated to people that life is never certain. Thus, they want to plan their estates while they still can.

However, California Probate law makes it difficult to notarize and sign documents during a pandemic. Wills in California generally require two witnesses (except when creating a holographic will). In most cases, a lawyer and his or her office staff will act as witnesses to a will. Unfortunately, many lawyers are working remotely, making this process more difficult.

When signing trust documents, witnesses are not required. Yet, in most cases, trust agreements do require notarization. Most estate planning law firms have in house notaries. Still, the coronavirus pandemic makes it difficult to meet with clients safely.

Our Procedure for Handling Document Signing and Notarization During the Coronavirus Pandemic

If notarizing a document is on your COVID-19 to-do list, then our law firm can help. We have a procedure in place to help our community with their estate planning needs. The estate planning process at Family First Estate Planning Law Center makes it as simple as possible for our clients. It also ensures their health and safety.

  1. First, we conduct meetings with prospective clients either telephonically or virtually with Zoom.
  2. Next, we exchange documents via email or fax.
  3. We then conduct another meeting with our clients (either telephonically or virtually). This meeting is for reviewing the documents and making any necessary corrections.
  4. The final step is to secure the necessary signatures and notarization. To do this, we schedule a meeting at the clients' residence. A mobile notary can meet us there. We endeavor to conduct the meeting without invading the clients' safe space. Thus, we suggest meeting in the garage or the driveway while ensuring a safe social distance. We bring a folding table with us and set it up where the signing is to take place.

The Notary and our office personnel come equipped with masks, gloves and a pen for each person who will be signing. This helps to limit or eliminate physical contact. The documents contain “sign here” notes, letting the clients know where to affix their signatures.

Contact an Estate Planning Attorney in California Today

The coronavirus pandemic has taught us that nothing in life is certain. Thus, planning your estate is more important than ever. Our office understands this. We strive to help our community and our clients have peace of mind during these uncertain times. Contact us today at (714) 591-0640 or leave us a message online. We promise to answer your estate planning questions and look forward to meeting with you soon.

About the Author

Sergio White

Sergio White is the Owner and Principal Attorney of Family First Estate Planning Law Center. Mr. White is a California native who graduated from The University of Southern California in 1986 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Political Science.  He received his Juris Doctor from Loyola Law Scho...

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