COVID-19 Update: How We Are Serving and Protecting Our Clients

CAN YOU DO A PROBATE DURING THE CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC?

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

In many ways, the Coronavirus has changed the way we live life. A good number of people are now working from home remotely. Additionally, many people are avoiding grocery stores and shopping online for groceries and are having in-home entertainment through streaming services rather than going to the movie theater. The bottom line is our daily lives and the things we do are not the same as they used to be.

The good news is, when it comes to estate planning and probate work, nothing has really changed. It’s true that we are having fewer in-person meetings with clients. Rather than doing face-to-face meetings, we are now doing more phone conferences and video conferences than ever before. However, when it comes to completing a probate, things are pretty much the same as they’ve always been. In other words, it is possible and easy to move forward with a probate during the Coronavirus pandemic.

Probate is the process that needs to be completed when a person passes away. It involves having a court appoint a personal representative who has the authority to work with creditors and deal with the property, and debts of the person who has passed away. In most instances, probate cannot be avoided and must be completed in order for the money, property, and other assets of the person who passed away to legally transfer to the beneficiaries who are entitled to receive these things.

So, during the Coronavirus, how can you complete a probate? This article will explain the process and describe how easy it is to get started.

Meeting with An Attorney

The first step is to meet with a probate attorney. Our office provides a free 30-minute consultation where we go through the probate process with our clients to help them understand the steps that need to be completed and the timelines involved. Before the Coronavirus we would do this free 30-minute consultation in person at our offices.

During the Coronavirus we have completed this free 30-minute consultation through phone calls or through video conferences. We are happy to set it up and complete it in anyway that our clients want. Our goal is to answer all of our client’s questions and to make sure they understand the process of probate when the meeting is done.

Completing Documents

When a probate does need to be completed there are a number of documents that need to be reviewed and signed by the client. Again, before the Coronavirus we would do all this in person during an appointment in our office. However, we are now doing many of these document reviews through email and phone or video conferences.

Our clients are able to download the documents, print them out, sign them where needed, and then return them to us by scanning and emailing them back or sending them through the regular mail. Through a video conference we can verify the signatures of the clients on any documents that need to be notarized. We can then complete the notaries for these documents when they arrive either electronically or through the mail. Once this is completed the documents are then filed with the court electronically by scanning and uploading them through the Court’s electronic filing system.

Hearings

In most probates, no hearings are necessary with the Court. However, even if there are hearings that are necessary, these are now being completed through video conferencing with the court and other attorneys. If evidence or documents are necessary, these are uploaded through the Court’s electronic filing system and are provided to all other parties through email and other electronic means.

Based on all these things, you can see that the Coronavirus pandemic has not stopped the probate process from occurring. As a result, if you would have a loved one or a family member passed away recently we encourage you to contact us for a free 30-minute consultation where we can discuss the probate process and answer your questions. We have helped numerous clients complete probates both before and during the Coronavirus pandemic and we are confident that we can help you too!

ENLIST AN IDAHO ESTATE PLANNING ATTORNEY TO HELP YOU

If you have any questions about your estate or how to simplify your plans for your family and loved ones, we can help.  Call us toll free at 877-232-6101 or 208-232-6101 for a free consultation with Lane Erickson and the Racine Olson team of Estate Planning attorneys in Pocatello. You can also email Lane Erickson directly at lane@racineolson.com. We will answer your questions and will help you solve your Pocatello Estate Planning problems. I have helped numerous clients create their own customized estate plans and I’m confident that I can help you too.

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