Planning for Your Estate in a Time of Social Distancing

Legal Alert

As with many estate planners, most of our attorneys and staff are working remotely. Although we may not be able meet with you in person, we are all are available by telephone, video conference and email. Many of our clients are thinking about their estate plans, or those of family members, and we are available to assist. Documents can be signed during this time, but methods can vary by office because of differences in state laws about witnessing and notaries. Plans to reopen offices will also vary by location.


Many of our clients want to sign without waiting for the office to reopen, or they may want to be cautious and sign from home even if we are open. If you are otherwise ready to execute your documents, we encourage you to contact us about signing and not deferring meeting until we are open.

For clients in the Portland area, we have a mobile notary who can come to your home and supervise the execution of your documents while following good social distancing practices.

Note that some documents require two witnesses and others require a notary. You should contact us directly to discuss the specific requirements that pertain to your situation.


In the Seattle area, we are able to meet you in our office or just outside our building, observing social distancing, wearing facial covering and using sanitized pens. If you are not comfortable coming to us, we can arrange for a mobile notary, but you would need to arrange for witnesses for those documents where they are required.


Idaho’s law permitting remote online notarization went into effect on January 1, 2020. Clients signing Idaho documents may contact us for assistance with remote notarization, but the following documents cannot be notarized remotely: wills, codicils, trust agreements and certain certified true copies of court-issued documents. For those wishing to execute wills and trusts, please contact us to arrange for a notary to come to you or to discuss other options that may be available. We will also provide detailed instructions on execution requirements for the various documents you may be signing.

Reminder About Planning with Low Interest Rates

As more fully described in last month’s alert, several good estate planning strategies work best in the current low interest rate environment, such as GRATs, installment sales to grantor trusts, and minimum rate loans to family members. These can also be combined with other techniques such as spousal access trusts or generation-skipping or dynasty trusts.

Please contact us if you are interested in learning more about these planning techniques.

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