We are currently conducting all meetings by web/phone conference (FaceTime, WhatsApp, Zoom, etc.), except for final signings. The legislature approved, and the governor signed, electronic notarization of documents on April 26, 2019, under very specific rules and requirements, but it wasn't set to go into place in Washington until October 2020. Recently, Governor Inslee approved a temporary immediate use proclamation of this statute until the end of April (effective March 27 2020 through April 26, 2020). However, this does not change the requirement that Wills and certain other documents have to be physically witnessed. We are currently conducting signings with a "drive thru" option where clients remain in their cars and we provide documents on a clipboard, and other low-contact/low-exposure methods depending on each situation. We are working to get our notary licenses updated and our software in place to provide electronic notary services and we are continuing to monitor our options and provide the most effective method of getting wills, trusts, power of attorney, health care directives, and other Washington estate planning and probate documents in place for our clients. For help with Washington estate planning and probate, visit our website to fill out a direct contact form.
Office Update - We're working virtually as much as possible. The signing of Wills requires that witnesses and notary be in the same room and many people are concerned with getting things in order at the moment (wills, powers of attorney for finances and health care, health care directives), so we are open for business for the time being. If you need to get your planning started, we will conduct the initial meeting by phone or web conference/chat in order to talk about options, advice, and preferences.
However, we will keep as much physical distance between individuals as possible (4 feet minimum) and no physical contact (handshakes or hugs - yes, I regularly hug my clients under normal circumstances). Luckily our office is low-traffic, so we have less exposure than many. We are not accepting drop-in clients and all final documents will be mailed to clients and not held for personal pick up.
We are also keeping an eye on the court status for our probate clients with cases that require court filings, especially to open probates to gain access to estate assets. Many courts are closing or restricting access.
As expected, everything is subject to change.
Megan M. Lewis