Private Clients Advisory: COVID-19 and Your Will, Health Care Power of Attorney, and Living Will

As we adjust to circumstances that would have been unimaginable several weeks ago, we want you to know that we are all working and dealing with matters related to the personal needs of our clients.

 

The members of our Private Clients Group are working remotely and may be reached through their regular office phone numbers or email addresses through the links below. If you have lost touch with your personal contact because of a retirement or otherwise, you may contact any member of our Private Clients Group listed at the end of this Advisory, and they will respond to you as quickly as possible.

 

Here are some items for you to think about during our current circumstances:

 

Wills
 
Wills in Pennsylvania are valid if they are signed by the person making the Will. Witnesses and notarizations, while always desirable, are not required. If you have an urgent situation, we can help.

 

Health Care Powers of Attorney and Living Wills
 
Health Care Powers of Attorney and Living Wills also do not require notarization.

 

Please Click Here to access a form that you may use to establish or update medical decisions. Print the form, complete it, sign it, and make sure that the person designated as your health care agent and your physician are aware of the document.
Important Documents
 
Locate important documents (or copies) and keep them where you and a trusted family member or friend can access them if necessary. It is not clear when safe deposit boxes at commercial banks will be accessible so photocopies or electronic copies may be the best available alternatives for the time being. At your direction, we would be happy to provide electronic copies of any documents that we have prepared for you.

 

Electronic Accounts and Passwords
 
Keep an updated list of financial accounts, electronic usernames and passwords, if applicable, and make sure that a trusted family member or friend is familiar with this information. If you customarily receive investment account, trust account, or similar statements by regular mail, please note that some institutions have advised that all such documents will be sent electronically for the time being even if regular mail continues to be delivered. Likewise, if you make deposits to accounts by mail or other means that require physical interaction with employees of your bank, advisor, etc., please consider alternative electronic options while institutions may not be able to open physical locations for customers.

 

Emergency Court Matters
 
Pennsylvania’s courts are adapting to the current situation with a variety of accommodations. The Orphans’ Court Division (which handles matters related to estates, trusts, guardianships, etc.) has announced that all conferences and hearings are suspended. Emergency motions will be heard by audio or teleconference beginning Thursday, March 26, 2020. “Emergency” matters are likely to be limited to matters affecting immediate health or welfare, but further guidance has not been issued. Involuntary and civil commitment matters will continue to be heard by audio or teleconference. Please contact us to discuss any matter.

 

Circumstances will continue to change, and we will monitor them and advise you to the extent possible. Please contact any member of the firm’s Private Clients Group, or any other Meyer, Unkovic & Scott attorney with whom you have worked, with any questions on the contents of this Advisory or any other estate planning questions.

This material is for informational purposes only.  It is not and should not be solely relied on as legal advice in dealing with any specific situation.