During this time of the COVID-19 pandemic, we realize now more than ever how quickly “normal” can change. Our usual day-to-day activities of doing what we used to do whenever, wherever, and with whomever we wanted has now been replaced with stay-at-home orders and social distancing.
This pandemic forced us to prioritize what is important to us as individuals, parents, and co-workers. As you consider your loved ones and this period we are in, if you do not already have certain documents, now is a great time to do them so that you can protect your future and the future of your family.
Those documents include:
- Will and Testament
- Medical Power of Attorney
- Directive to Physicians
- Declaration of Guardian for yourself
- Declaration of Guardian for your children
However, these documents need to be notarized. A Will and Testament needs to be signed before at least two witnesses. How do you accomplish this with social distancing rules in place?
On April 8, 2020, Texas Governor Greg Abbott signed an executive order temporarily suspending certain statutes to allow for appearance before a notary public via videoconferencing – remote notarization – to execute a self-proved will, a durable power of attorney, a medical power of attorney, a directive to physicians, or an oath of an executor, administrator, or guardian. The purpose of doing so was to protect people’s health to avoid catching the COVID-19 virus.
Despite Governor Abbott’s executive order, Texas law requires that a will must be witnessed by two or more credible (competent) people. These witnesses must be at least 14 years of age and must be in the physical presence of the testator at the time the testator signs the will.
This physical presence requirement for the witnesses can only be changed if the Texas Legislature changes the statute. Until then, for a Texas will to be valid, the will signing must be done by the testator in front of two or more witnesses in person and a notary public.
To learn more about a Will and Testament, Medical Power of Attorney, Directive to Physicians, and Declaration of Guardian, contact the Law Office of Kim M. Pettit at (210) 558-4572 or contact me TODAY. We look forward to working with you.