Getting Your Will Done Remotely
As the COVID-19 crisis has unfolded, we’ve had a number of concerned folks contact our office who are eager to get their Wills drafted. Their only hesitation is that they don’t want to put themselves or their loved ones at risk of infection in the process. Does this sound like you? Well, luckily, we have the solution for this Catch-22. Here at Hailey-Petty Law Firm, you may schedule a free consultation with an attorney without having to leave your home by utilizing our new phone- and video-conference features. Even better, you will be able to complete the entirety of your estate planning process, from start to finish, without ever having to step foot in our office. The process is fast, easy, and, most importantly, safe for you and your family.
Before we continue, it’s important to address why we so strongly recommend hiring an estate planning attorney to help draft your Will rather than trying to create your own online. The truth is that DIY legal websites are attractive to consumers for two reasons: they’re low-priced and convenient. These perceptions, although perhaps true in the near-term, often come at a grave cost to the customer’s family later on. This is because, as the old platitude goes, you get what you pay for. Wills drafted using these platforms are vulnerable to countless errors, any of which could result in them being rejected entirely by a probate judge. If the Will is not accepted into probate, your surviving family members will have to start from scratch, costing them thousands of dollars and dozens of hours dealing with red tape. Simply put, the stakes are too high. Don’t risk it. Any estate planning law firm would be a better choice. When it comes to protecting your health, however, Hailey-Petty Law Firm, PLLC has always been in the practice of estate planning and probate, and might be the best choice you could make during the COVID-19 pandemic. Here’s why:
After your free remote consultation with the attorney, we will begin drafting your estate planning documents, tailoring them to your specific needs. This process takes 1-2 weeks. Once the documents have met your satisfaction, the last step will be to get them signed. In Texas, Wills must be signed in front of a notary and two witnesses in order to be considered legitimate in the eyes of the law. This requirement presents an obvious challenge to those looking to execute their estate planning documents while adhering to social distancing guidelines. Fortunately, we have devised three ways you can get your documents finalized without having to subject yourself to the risk a traditional signing appointment would impose.
Option #1: Holographic Simple Will: There is a provision in Texas law that allows one to forgo the notary and two witnesses stipulation mentioned-above. It’s called a “Holographic” Will. This simply means that your Will is written out by-hand, by you. Don’t worry; we’ll do all the heavy lifting to make sure that it meets the other requirements in the law. Your job is merely to transcribe the Will we draft for you into your own handwriting and sign it. Once you have done that, your Will is effective. If you wish, you may contact our office after the COVID-19 situation has resolved and schedule a traditional signing of your Will. This will be a free opportunity for you to resign printed versions of your documents, as per our normal procedure.
Option #2: Holographic Will with Pour-Over to Revocable Living Trust: Logistically speaking, this option is the same as Option #1. What makes this option different is that it includes a Pour-Over to Revocable Living Trust. Depending on the profile of your estate and your desired distributions to beneficiaries, this option may be suitable for you. If it is, you would handwrite your will as described above and sign your revocable living trust. You would also be entitled to reschedule a traditional signing of all your documents once the pandemic safety measures have been lifted.
Option #3: Use Your Own Notary Service & Witnesses: Another option is to utilize mobile notary services and people in your life, with whom you’re already in contact, as witnesses. Such witnesses could be neighbors, friends or family members who are not beneficiaries in your estate planning documents. As for the mobile notary, we would be happy to provide you with a trusted referral.
If you have any questions regarding the three signing options, please give Hailey-Petty Law Firm, PLLC a call in order to schedule a free consultation with an estate planning attorney. You may reach our Austin office at (512) 910-8977, or our San Antonio office at (210) 570-2458. Choosing to have your estate planning done correctly may give you some of the certainty you need to make it through such an uncertain time.