On April 15, 2020, Lawrence Mandelker was quoted in MarketWatch regarding estate planning during the COVID-19 pandemic. With more than 1.9 million cases of COVID-19 around the world, people may realize that important papers need to be updated or drawn up — that includes having wills, power of attorney forms, and other directive documents in place.
According to the article, New York state has recently allowed its residents to officiate wills virtually, with only video and audio teleconferencing between attorneys, the individuals, and their witnesses. New York’s rule does not include electronically signing the document — people must still print out the form, sign it, scan it, and send it back — but the provision, available until May 7 for now, does allow residents to get paperwork processed while everyone is quarantined at home.
Some platforms generate estate planning documents online. However, creating documents online is often not the best choice, said Mandelker. Especially in a situation like the coronavirus, a “stock document” won’t help.
People aim for perfection in these documents, Mandelker said, but that typically prevents them from completing these forms. More than anything, individuals working on estate documents should work with professionals to get their wishes on paper in a legally binding manner. “Many clients will put off estate planning,” he said. “They want to get it perfect. You’re never going to get it perfect. This is a process.”