Executing your Estate Planning Documents Remotely in New Jersey Just Got Easier - Trusts & Estates and Elder Law Newsletter
During this time of uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our Pashman Stein Walder Hayden Trust & Estate and Elder Law group remain available to address all of your planning, administration, and related needs. While we all start to settle into this new and, hopefully, temporary “normal,” we are receiving inquiries from current and prospective clients who are reminded during this difficult time of the importance of ensuring that their estate and related planning is in order. While our physical offices may be closed, we continue to serve our clients’ needs remotely utilizing telephone and video conferencing technology and we encourage you to reach out should you require our assistance.
While executing estate planning and other documents may look different while we are all doing our best to socially distance ourselves, the law in New Jersey just made this process a little easier. On April 14, 2020, Governor Murphy signed into law Bill A3903, as amended, which now allows notaries, attorneys, and other officials in New Jersey to perform notarial acts remotely utilizing video technology. This act is only good for the duration of the COVID-19 crisis as set forth in Governor Murphy’s Executive Order 103. What this means for our clients is that we can now assist you in notarizing your documents remotely via a video conference.
Remotely executing your documents can be challenging, but it is not impossible. While some planning documents are valid under New Jersey law without the utilization of a Notary Public, the best (and our usual) practice is to have two witnesses (who, preferably, are not interested parties or beneficiaries) and a Notary Public acknowledge your signature. The independent witness bar may be difficult to reach under the circumstances, but it is fine to utilize interested witnesses if that is the best you can do. You should plan, however, on re-executing the documents at a later date once the crisis is over. For our New York clients, New York has made provisions under its law during this crisis that allows remote witnessing and notarization through the utilization of video conferencing technology.
We remain committed to assisting you through this difficult and unusual time. Please do not hesitate to contact us if we can help you with your Trust & Estate, Elder Law, and related planning needs during this difficult time. In the meantime, please stay safe and we hope that you and your loved ones remain well.