The past few weeks have been complicated by the coronavirus as it has caused massive disruptions in our everyday lives in Hopkinsville. The coronavirus has changed life as we know it and made it extremely difficult and potentially risky to have in person meetings, even if the meeting is considered essential. As a Hopkinsville law firm, we are considered an essential business. However, as part of Kentucky's most recent Executive Order, we are ordered to meet clients in person only when remote meetings, such as telephone video conferencing are not available or feasible.
Signing Wills through Video Conferencing in Kentucky
This Executive Order presents unique challenges when you have a pressing legal matter that needs a notary and witnesses such signing a will, trust, or power of attorney. Given today's climate, we understand that it can be very difficult for clients to come into the office and sit with our staff for a will or trust signing.
The good news is that Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear recently signed a new bill, SB 150, which helps alleviate the stress of in-person document signing meetings.
This new bill offers our clients more protection during these trying times as the bill permits document signings to occur by way of video teleconference communication, so long as the communication is occurring in real time.
In Kentucky, all estate planning documents require two witnesses and a notary to be present during the document signing.
This new bill now enables our witnesses and our notaries to sign and notarize documents electronically while on a video teleconference in lieu of everyone being physically in the same room at the time of signing.
As such, all documents that are signed and notarized electronically during a video teleconference are considered to be a valid single document. The signed document will be treated exactly the same as if all signers were physically in the same room at the time of signing so the documents integrity is not lost.
This new Kentucky law is extremely helpful as it grants our clients additional flexibility when it comes time to sign their documents. Clients can choose which option works best for them: either meeting with our staff in person or they can remain in the comfort of their own home and communicate with our staff online in real time. At the end of the day, we want to make sure our clients are as comfortable as possible while enabling them to move forward with their estate planning, probate, and/or business needs during these times of uncertainty.
We understand that social distancing is imperative for the time being and having a conference room full of people might dissuade clients from seeking legal services. This new bill allows individuals the opportunity to take advantage of the legal services we offer without having to sacrifice their health as we can conduct the intake process and the final document signing process via video telecommunication.
Requirements for Remote Conferencing
If you need to meet us remotely online there are a few things that you will need to have to successfully conference. These include:
- Computer or smart phone
- High speed internet or good cell phone signal
- Conferencing systems such as Zoom or GoToMeeting
- Web camera
- Good lighting
If you have these items then it is not difficult to set up a conference. If you have questions about how to set up web meetings,give us a call at 270-569-0006.
In Person Meetings During COVID-19
Understand that we do not take our clients' health lightly. If you do come into our office, we are taking extra safety precautions on a daily basis. These precautions include:
- not shaking hands
- keeping our distance
- using a large amount of hand sanitizer, and
- sanitizing all of the surfaces in our offices after each appointment
We want to assure our potential and existing clients that we are doing our part to make sure they feel at ease and safe when coming into our office to take care of their legal needs during these unusual times.
How Can We Help?
If you are considering preparing a will, trust, or power of attorney in Kentucky, you must have a notary and witnesses. During this time of the coronavirus pandemic, finding those essential persons can be challenging. However, with the current law in Kentucky, estate attorneys are able to meet clients through online conferencing. Our staff at Crow Estate Planning and Probate are able to meet you online and assist you in remotely signing your estate planning documents. Call us at 270-569-0006 with any questions.