Due to the Coronavirus pandemic, the lives of people across the country and especially in New York have changed in various ways. Stay-at-home orders and the closure of non-essential business has left people unsure of what tomorrow may bring. This makes it more important than ever to have an estate plan in place so that you and your family are prepared. Part of this process can include drafting a will.
When a will is written, it must follow certain guidelines in order for it to be considered a valid, legal document. However, the current way of life due to the Coronavirus can make this difficult to accomplish. While this is true, there are ways to get around this. Continue reading to learn more about how you can make sure your New York will is valid during these trying times.
How Do I Know if a Will is Valid?
The guidelines that must be followed in order for a will to be valid is as follows:
- The testator must be at least 18 years old and of “sound mind and memory”
- The testator must either sign the will themselves or another person must sign the testator’s name at their direction and in their presence
- At least two people must witness the signature and sign their names on the will within 30 days of each other
- At some point during the will’s execution and attestation, the testator must tell each witness that the document is their will
How Do I Use Witnesses Under Social Distancing Rules?
As a result of the Coronavirus, social distancing rules have been put in place to slow down the spread of the disease. This can make it hard for people to be witnesses in the signing of a will, as a limited amount of people can be in one room at the same time and they must stay at least six feet apart. However, it is not impossible to do so. As recommended by the National Notary Association, “window-separated singings” can be done in locations that allow those participating to keep a window between them at all times while signing the documents. This must be done in accordance with all federal, state, and local guidelines for social distancing, health protection, and sanitization. This includes swapping documents at a distance of six feet apart by leaving them in a place where they can be retrieved, followed by a thorough washing and sanitizing of your hands.
Contact our Firm
If you or a loved one needs assistance creating an estate plan and wish to speak with an experienced attorney, contact the Law Office of Andres D. Gil, PLLC today.