Back in April, Governor Cuomo signed an executive order allowing for the virtual witnessing of will signings. This has been extended multiple times, and the current extension expires on January 29, 2021, unless it is extended again. As a result of continuing to work hard and safely through the pandemic, Colligan Law has experience in virtual will signings. Following the protocols laid out in Executive Order 202.14, our process is as follows:
- First, the client and her attorneys open the video conference, and the client shows her attorneys her government-issued ID.
- Then, the client receives a copy of her will via email.
- The client asks her attorneys to serve as witnesses to signing her last will and testament.
- Next, the client prints her will and signs it as her attorneys witness.
- The client then scans a copy of her signed will to her attorneys.
- Before the video conference ends, the client is reminded to mail the attorneys her will with her original signature, signed during the video conference, within 30 days. Once this will is received by the attorneys, they sign as witnesses as of the date of execution, mail the client a copy, and file the original will for safekeeping.
Here at Colligan Law, this process has worked smoothly each time our attorneys have virtually witnessed a will signing. Of course, being able to participate in a virtual signing depends on the client's having the capabilities to print, participate in a video conference, and scan their documents. If you or someone you know needs their will drafted and signed but is worried about going into an office during the pandemic, you can be sure that Colligan Law can accommodate a virtual will signing.
For the purposes of Estates Powers and Trusts Law (EPTL) 3-2.1(a)(2), EPTL 3-2.1(a)(4), Public Health Law 2981(2)(a), Public Health Law 4201(3), Article 9 of the Real Property Law, General Obligations Law 5-1514(9)(b), and EPTL 7-1.17, the act of witnessing that is required under the aforementioned New York State laws is authorized to be performed utilizing audio-video technology provided that the following conditions are met: