YES, WE DO VIRTUAL WILLS WITH FULL ATTORNEY ASSISTANCE (COLORADO ONLY)
By: Julie Kreutzer, Esq.
As Covid-19 continues to evolve, many people realize they need to get their Will, medical documents, and related documents done or updated.
Although for most of my 30 years in practice, we did these kinds of services for individuals and couples through in person meetings, we have now worked out a virtual system to get your documents done safely and easily. Continuing in 2022, we can assist those with an estate of no more than $12.06 million (individual) or $24.12 million (couple)*. When the Pandemic is over or things improve, we can return to in-person meetings but as of summer 2022, I prefer virtual except for signing with some exceptions for those who hate working virtually.
The Virtual Process
I work by phone and email with clients to get the information. I start with a questionnaire for some of the basic information but clients call whenever they’re ready to discuss questions and concerns. Once that call is done, th I draft or modify documents and get them back to the client via email. At the point where the client is satisfied with the final, the Will and related documents we can schedule to sign and notarize at my office or the client can print the final documents and go to a notary. There is also the option of a virtual notary (as long as they are from Colorado) due to a change in Colorado law during the Pandemic. Having two witnesses for a Will also works but because the other documents require a notary and it’s better to have it for the Will, I advise signing in front of a notary. Some clients choose to do both witnesses** and notaries, however that is more difficult at this time so we’re doing notary witnessing at our offices at this time. We have a free notary at our building and will make copies of your documents while retaining a copy in our office. If signed and notarized elsewhere, it’s highly advisable to send a fully executed copy back to me so that I have copies at my office, in case the original is lost.
Wills Package (Wills plus Related Documents like Healthcare)
We provide the Will, Advanced Medical Directive, Medical Durable Power of Attorney, Regular Power of Attorney and related documents at a flat fee with additional work on Trusts done at an hourly rate. We also review documents done in the past.
Review of Existing Wills and Modifying Wills
I review existing wills to see if they are still valid and modify those that need updating, this is done hourly. This can be done quickly if only a few changes are needed, while others take more time. If I think it would be less expensive to simply redo them, I’ll tell you and let you choose but I do need a word document to simply modify existing documents. It’s also possible to do specific documents like the healthcare ones, if, for example, your will is fine but the healthcare documents are outdated.
Why You Should Deal with these Documents Now
Thinking over mortality is hardly what anyone wants to do right now, but please don’t delay on this for several critical reasons: 1) Even if you are in great health now, something like Covid or an accident might put you out of commission for awhile and then you’ll need the medical documents so that an Agent can speak for you if you can’t talk with the doctors. 2) Those of you who are married may have a fairly straightforward Will but it saves delay and trouble to do it properly; 3) Those of you who are single or have significant others to protect need to know that if you die without a will or your will is outdated or defective, Colorado law makes its best guess as to who should inherit and that doesn’t include significant others, specific family members, friends or your favorite causes, unless you specifically do it through a will. Likewise, do not delay on healthcare documents since a good Advanced Medical Directive/Medical Durable Power of Attorney allows your healthcare agent to speak for you with full power if you can’t speak for yourself to ensure that your treatment is based on your priorities.
Overall, you need a combination of documents to protect you and those your care about during your lifetime and after you pass. I do all the documents you need in one package to be sure you have them and that they interrelate properly. Make sure as you look around for your best option that whomever you choose does this.
Practices to Avoid, Even During a Pandemic
Avoid the websites that offer virtual wills because they rarely provide adequate information to explain legal terms and options and may not be compliant with Colorado law. Most of these services do not have attorneys available to answer your questions or provide advice. This leads to documents that often don’t make sense or are rejected as invalid. It causes frustration and serious consequences for healthcare providers, heirs and judges who are left trying to guess your intent and often have to rely on guesses or Colorado law because the documents are defective. It’s also important that the documents function for your particular situation, which varies a great deal from person to person. Getting advice can make an enormous difference between truly functional documents and ones that don’t work at all well for you in a health crisis or your heirs when you pass.
Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want further information or call us at 303-417-0697. I offer a free half hour consult to discuss whether I can meet your needs.
- Note that we provide estate planning for individuals with estates of $12.06 million or less and couples with estates of $24.12 million or less based on current tax exemptions in 2022. Be aware that tax exemptions can change over time and if Congress changes the tax law, you’ll need to talk with your accountant and possibly get your Will changed.
** You must not ask members of your household or friends that are beneficiaries to witness this for you!