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Idaho Estate Planning how to Sign Your Will During Coronavirus Quarantine

By Lane V. Erickson, Idaho Estate Planning Attorney

There’s no doubt that the Coronavirus has had an impact on all of us. Our everyday lives have been changed dramatically by shelter-in-place or stay-at-home orders, by required or self-imposed quarantines, and/or by the sickness itself. Even with all of this, the premier team of Idaho estate planning attorneys at the Racine law office are available to help you with your estate planning. Whether it’s getting it done in the first place or updating it to make sure that it meets your current needs, we are here to help!

Through our knowledge and experience, our team of lawyers are able to provide advice and counsel to each of our clients that are necessary in helping them create an estate plan or in keeping their plan current even during the Coronavirus pandemic. Our team consists of partners Randy Budge and Lane Erickson and attorneys Nate Palmer and Dave Bagley. Each of our lawyers has been around for some time. This alone is not enough to qualify us to be considered one of the premier estate planning and probate firms in Idaho. Rather, it is our experience and knowledge that gives us the ability to help our clients with their questions and concerns, including helping our clients with their own estate plans at all times.

Some of the basic questions I’ve received recently have to do with how we get estate planning documents signed, witnessed and notarized during the coronavirus quarantines and stay-at-home orders. It’s important for you to know that we can still get these things done for you. This article explains the different ways we can obtain the required signatures on all of your estate planning documents focusing mostly on your last will and testament.

We encourage you to download our Estate Planning Questionnaire which is a simple document you can type into on your computer and save. Our clients tell us the Questionnaire made the process of gathering information simple and easy. Once this is done, we provide a free 30-minute consultation to discuss the information on the questionnaire and to answer questions about estate planning. Our goal is to help our clients understand the options and choices they have for their own estate plan.

We don’t charge for any of this because we want our clients to understand exactly how their estate plan will help them before they make any commitments to hire us. We encourage you to call us for this free 30-minute consultation.

Your Signature

When you are ready to get your estate-planning done, we can do it for you even with the Coronavirus pandemic. The first thing we need is your signature on your estate planning documents. This can be done a number of different ways. We can email the documents to you which you can print out and then sign. Or, alternatively, we can send these printed documents to you in the mail.

If you can’t print out the documents yourself, and if you aren’t comfortable receiving mail during this pandemic then another way exists. Pursuant to Idaho Code § 51-109, working together with Idaho Code § 15-2-504, an individual can actually direct another person to sign their name to their will or other estate planning documents on their behalf. The only change in the notary attestation is that the following sentence has to be inserted: “Signature affixed by (name of other individual) at the direction of (name of individual)”. In this way, either through video conferencing, or through a phone call, the person who is getting their last will and testament completed can actually have another person sign the will for them even if this person is a witness. The only limitation is that it cannot be the notary.

Witness Signatures

Getting the signatures of the witnesses is very similar. Pursuant to Idaho Code § 15-2-504 the witnesses to the Will don’t actually have to be in the same room with the person who is signing the Will. In fact, based on this statute, the witnesses don’t even have to see the person sign the Will. So long as the person who signed the Will can attest to the witnesses that they did in fact sign the Will, the witnesses can then sign indicating that they know that the testator is 18 years of age or older, of sound mind, and under no constraint or undue influence and that this individual attested that they signed the Will.

Notarizing Signatures

How to get a notary completed during the Coronavirus pandemic has been the subject of many discussions. However, I think most people are over-complicating the process. According to the actual statutes, which are, Idaho Code §§ 51-105, 106, and 107. These code sections are often misunderstood or misconstrued.

Many notaries believe that in order to have a proper notary done they are required to be “physically” present with the individual when they sign the document they are seeking to be notarized. This is not true. Rather, according to these statutes, a notary is free to notarize the document so long as they can properly identify the individual, and the individual makes a “personal appearance” before them to attest that they either have signed or are about to sign the document.

There is nothing in the statutes that says that this personal appearance can’t be done electronically. In other words, with today’s technology, a personal appearance could be made by a video conference or by a contemporaneous phone call. This is further supported by a specific statute which says this is perfectly fine and can be accomplished in this way. This statute is Idaho Code § 51-114A. This section completely embraces using communication technology such as video conferencing or contemporaneous phone calls.

So, if you’ve been putting off getting your estate planning done because of the Coronavirus, we encourage you to reconsider. Our firm is set up to help you immediately complete these documents and get everything done that needs to be done so that you have a good estate plan in place to protect yourself while you were alive and provide for your family and loved ones when you pass away. We encourage you to contact us for a free 30-minute consultation, and to obtain your copy of our Estate Planning Questionnaire.


Our team of Idaho lawyers can help you with any of your estate planning or probate needs. Whether you are seeking to create or review an estate plan for yourself or would like to help a loved one, we are available to discuss your options and answer your questions at an initial free 30-minute consultation. Call us toll free at 877.232.6101 or 208.232.6101 for a free consultation. You can also email us directly at or stop by our office at 201 East Center Street, Pocatello, Idaho 83201. We will set up an appointment to answer your questions and help you solve your Idaho estate planning problems.

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