The practice of estate planning is one of the oldest legal concepts and has been helping people dispose of their property for thousands of years. Even the Ancient Greeks wrote wills and signed them in front of witnesses.
As ancient as the practice of estate planning can be, it is surprisingly adaptable to modern technologies. Now more than ever, estate planning lawyers are modifying their practices to be increasingly more virtual and therefore more convenient to clients.
THE PROCESS OF ESTATE PLANNING
It varies due to individual needs, but most estate planning processes follow a similar timeline:
- Meet With An Estate Planning Attorney. Often called an initial consultation, this meeting allows both you and the attorney to get to know each other and make sure the attorney-client relationship is the right fit for you and your family.
- Provide Information. Many estate planning attorneys will ask you to fill out some sort of questionnaire to provide the information necessary to create your documents.
- Draft & Review. Once the documents are drafted, the client has an opportunity to review them.
- Sign the Documents. The documents are often signed in the presence of a Notary Public and at least one witness if not two.
VIRTUAL ESTATE PLANNING
Whether you are concerned about COVID-19 or just can’t find the time to head into a law office, there are a variety of ways you can connect with an estate planning lawyer that do not require in-person contact.
Often used for the initial consultation, a simple phone call can be the best way to meet with an attorney.
- Video Conferencing
From Zoom to Facetime to Google Hangout, there are a variety of video conferencing platforms that easily replace in-person meetings. Plus, unlike phone calls, both the client and attorney are able to visually put a face to the voice on the other end.
Depending on the client’s needs, an estate plan may have up to 200+ pages of necessary documents. Rather than printing all those pages for review, email is the method most used to provide the drafts of the estate plan. Plus, email most beneficial when a client has questions or requests changes. By providing that information via email rather than over the phone, it creates a clear and written record of the client’s questions, concerns, and desires.
Many estate planning documents need to be witnessed and notarized. As a result, the signing of these documents needed to be in person. However, COVID-19 has seen many states push for E-Notary and online witnessing options. Check with your estate planning attorney to see if E-Notary is an option for your estate plan.
Interested in meeting virtually with an attorney? Contact the law offices of Kamper & Estrada, PLLC to chat with our experienced estate planning lawyer using whichever method you are most comfortable with.