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On April 10, 2020, Governor Hogan signed an Executive Order for the state of Maryland allowing remote witnesses and electronic signatures for Wills, Powers of Attorney, and Advance Directives. This Executive Order is vital to finalizing estate planning documents without jeopardizing the health and safety of the signer, witnesses, and attorneys. The Executive Order will remain in place for as long as both the state of emergency and proclamation of the catastrophic health emergency continue in the state of Maryland.
At Sessa & Dorsey, we have established the proper procedures for finalizing estate planning documents electronically. As a team, it is our goal to make the remote witnessing and electronic signature process as seamless as possible, removing all confusion and hesitation that may occur.
What is a Will?
Wills are debatably the most important estate planning tool. A Will is a legal document that specifies how you would like your assets distributed after you pass. In your Will, you can dictate who you want to receive your property, who will handle the distribution of your assets (i.e. your Personal Representative/Executor), if you want to make charitable donations, and who you would like to be the guardian of any minor children. If you do not have a Will in place, the intestacy laws of the State of Maryland will be used to determine who will manage your estate and will dictate who will receive your assets. Furthermore, if you have minor children, the Circuit Court (which is the Court that handles guardianships for minor children) will have no guidance in whom to appoint as guardian for your minor children.
What are Financial Powers of Attorney?
In the state of Maryland, a Financial Power of Attorney is a legal document in which you give someone or more than one person the authority to handle financial matters on your behalf. There are a few different forms of Financial Power of Attorney, including Limited and General, as well as Durable and Springing. These different varieties are used for various situations, and your attorney can help determine what is best for your specific needs.
What is an Advance Directive?
An Advance Directive is a legal document that names an agent to make medical decisions on your behalf and dictates what medical treatments you would like to receive, should you become incapacitated. An Advance Directive is only applicable if you are incapacitated and no longer applies if you regain the capability to make your own medical decisions or you pass away. Read more in our blog post, What You Need to Know About Advance Directives.
If you need assistance with remote estate planning, please contact us at (443) 589-5600. At Sessa & Dorsey, our team is here to guide you during this time.