Posted on

May 17, 2021

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The Covid-19 Pandemic has changed the world in many ways. One thing that has not changed, and has become more important, is the need to have legal planning in place if you get sick or worse. So, Powers of Attorney to have a trusted person in place to pay your bills and handle your finances; Health Care Proxies to have a someone in place to make medical decisions if you cant make them for yourself; and estate planning documents like Wills and Trusts are even more important now than ever.
Covid-19 also has put limits on how you can put these documents in place. Seniors cant easily or safely meet in an attorneys office to discuss planning and to sign the documents, many of which need to be signed in the presence of witnesses and a notary public.
Fortunately, we humans are a resourceful species and some solutions have been put into place so that you can get these important documents in place; such as:
-a computer, tablet or smartphone, using video conferencing software (ZOOM and similar), can allow meetings to take place between your lawyer and you remotely.
-if your lawyer and you are comfortable with you coming in to the office, many offices now have protective shields and air purifiers in place so that you can see and hear your lawyer in person safely with masks.
-meetings to execute documents can take place in many ways. There are three options my office has been using:

Meet in person with the protective safeguards (shields, masks and air purifiers) with witnesses and the notary keeping social distance but still being in your presence to meet legal requirements.
When the documents are finalized, meet through a video conference with the lawyer to confirm the choices you have made in the documents. Then follow up with a drive in document signing in the office parking lot where the notary and witnesses provide the documents through the car window and watch as they are executed (and no, you cant get fries with that).
Massachusetts passed a remote notarization law that allows documents to be witnessed and notarized remotely using a computer or smart-phone (not easy or simple, but it works).

If you havent done legal planning before or need to make changes to your plan, the Pandemic should not be an excuse not to do it now.

Editors Note; This article was submitted by Estate and Elderlaw Attorney Timothy R. Loff, Esq. of the Law Offices of Timothy R. Loff, Newton, who may be reached at 617-332-7021 or

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