Preparing An Advance Directive • The most critical step for most individuals is naming a health care agent and a successor. Lawyers routinely help with this task, but do-it-yourself forms acceptable in every state are available, or use the ABA multi-state form if you are in a state that recognizes it. • Individuals can also document health care instructions for end-of-life care, including health care values, goals, and priorities in advance directives. • Lawyers should use remote methods to counsel clients who are at high-risk if exposed to COVID-19, such as videoconference or phone calls. Continue to be alert to signs of abuse or exploitation when counseling clients, particularly when meeting with clients remotely or by phone. • Facility lockdowns, social distancing, and quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic makes complying with signing formalities difficult. Lawyers are reporting creative solutions, such as meeting with clients through windows with an open audio connection. Some states are changing rules about witnesses, notarization, and other formalities as a result of the pandemic. Check with your state for the latest information. » Think about who is already interacting with the individual who may be able to serve as a witness. Most states prohibit health care providers from serving as witnesses, but other patients or residents are generally allowed unless in an excluded category. » Most states have an exception allowing employees of health care facilities to notarize these documents—check state law to be certain. » A handful of states had provisions before the pandemic for electronic notarization, where the notary observed the signing or acknowledgement by video, and other states are allowing e-notarization as an emergency measure—verify what is possible in your state. » The ABA Real Property Probate and Trust Law Section and the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel are tracking information on remote witnesses and notaries.
Jeff Sodoma, MPA, Esq. is a lawyer based in Virginia Beach, Virginia
Hello, there! Welcome to my blog. I will use this blog as a platform for my writing. I will write about topics in the legal world, certainly, as well as everything else under the sun, because I have many interests (and viewpoints). All views expressed in this blog, unless otherwise noted, are mine alone. One of my interests is music--my wife believes that I should go on "Beat Shazam" because I know so many songs--and I will be, from time to time, analyzing song lyrics and how they relate to the legal world.