legal matters

Updating Your Will? Legal Advice During COVID-19

NBC Universal, Inc.

The COVID-19 pandemic may have you thinking about the future, your assets, finances and other legal responsibilities. Are you as prepared as you should be?

There is increased interest in creating wills and obtaining life insurance policies, according to legal experts. Attorneys are having to navigate how to best serve their clients in these unpredictable times.

The legal system often evolves slowly, but that is not the case these days, said Lee Hoffman, an attorney with Pullman & Comley LLC.

“We’re literally developing the law as we go overnight,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman said his firm, which has offices throughout Connecticut as well as locations in Massachusetts and New York, has become busier with certain inquiries since the COVID-19 pandemic began.

“We’ve been seeing a fair number of consultations, unsurprisingly, on trusts and estates, updating your will, updating your durable power of attorney,” Hoffman said.

Hoffman noted that creating or updating a will is usually something people say they will get around to doing someday in the future.

“The catch is that someday has arrived now, and people are thinking about it and it’s front of mind and you do have longer talks with your spouses,” said Hoffman. “You need to have somebody who’s there as your health care proxy, in order to make those medical decisions while you’re unconscious or while you can’t speak for yourself.”

Tending to many legal matters would typically have to be done in-person with the supervision of an attorney along with witnesses and a notary public. But in this time of ‘social distancing’, that has been changed temporarily.

One of Gov. Ned Lamont’s recent executive orders allowed for some of legal matters to be conducted remotely. The actions taken must now be recorded, and whoever completed the notarization must keep that recording for ten years.

Another topic that Hoffman’s firm has seen arising as of late is divorce consultation.

“Several weeks of quarantining in place has led some couples to reevaluate if they still ought to be together,” said Hoffman.

Hoffman said his firm has been closely monitoring the legal implications for businesses, municipalities and other organizations in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

Pullman & Comley has been responding to a wide range of client questions and has been hosting webinars to explain changes in the law and in how legal matters are currently being handled.

“It’s planning now for the future. We’re all sheltering in place, hopefully we’re all doing what we can to stay safe, but it’s planning for three, four months out,” Hoffman said.

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