Creating a comprehensive estate plan is one of the most invaluable things you can do for yourself and your family. Done properly, your estate plan allows for financial and medical decision-making in the event of your incapacity or disability, avoids costly and burdensome alternatives like the appoint of a guardian or conservator, and provides peace of mind for you and your heirs.
Recent and long-awaited legislative and administrative changes to Kentucky law have made execution of these important documents easier than ever before – and allows for the signing of your estate plan from the comfort and safety of your own home.
Kentucky law has long required that a Last Will & Testament be signed “in the presence of at least two (2) credible witnesses, who shall subscribe the will with their names in the presence of the testator, and the presence of each other.” KRS 394.040. Similarly, best practices for the signing of trusts, and instruments granting a Durable Power of Attorney and Durable Medical and Health Care Power of Attorney, require that two witnesses be present for the document’s execution.
Additionally, best practices for the signing of estate planning documents require that the documents be notarized.
It’s difficult (if not impossible) to maintain social distancing and take effective precautions against the spread of COVID-19, when at least four people (the client, the attorney, and two witnesses) are required to be in close proximity to execute estate planning documents.
Fortunately, Kentucky’s prompt response to the dangers of the COVID-19 pandemic provides a safe and convenient solution for Kentuckians who need to create or update their estate plan. Kentucky Senate Bill 150, passed by the Kentucky legislature and signed by Governor Beshear on March 30, 2020, allows – for the first time in Kentucky history – for the remote execution of wills and other estate planning documents.
“Individuals… not in the same physical location shall be in considered in the presence of one another if the individuals can communicate via a video teleconference in real time…” SB 150. Combined with other recent legislative and administrative changes, that allow a notary public to authenticate documents remotely, SB 150 means that a Kentuckian who needs to create an estate plan or wants to update their current estate plan can do so without ever having to leave their home, by using videoconferencing applications like Skype or Zoom.
The experienced and knowledgeable estate planning attorneys at Morgan Pottinger McGarvey can help you create or update your estate plan from the comfort and safety of your own home. Please call today for a no-charge consultation.
Michael Troutman’s practice focuses on estate planning, including wills, trusts, estate administration and powers of attorney.