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Remote execution of Wills is now permitted in New York State.  Governor Cuomo’s Executive Order 202.14, issued on April 7, 2020, finally permits what many trusts and estates attorneys, and their clients, have been waiting for – permission to conduct will-signing ceremonies remotely. People who have been delaying making or changing their wills can now have that done from the safety and comfort of home.

Under long-established New York law, signing a Last Will and Testament typically requires at least four (4) people physically present in a room: the attorney supervising the signing, the person signing the will, and at least two (2) attesting witnesses. The law states that “The signature of the testator shall be affixed to the will in the presence of each of the attesting witnesses…” This last requirement has generally prevented wills from being signed during the current crisis. Executive Order 202.14 now permits witnessing by video conferencing as long as certain condition are met.

Another long-standing requirement is that the signatures of the attesting witnesses must be acknowledged before a notary public. An earlier Executive Order provided guidelines for remote acknowledgments by notaries public. Now, all the elements are in place to permit remote execution of wills.

Those who want to make or revise a will can now do so from home if they have access to video conferencing through services such as Zoom or Skype, or a cell phone with video capability. Our office will host the video conference so the client will only have to reply to an email or phone call from us. We can also provide the attesting witnesses. Call our office today at (845) 764-9656 for further information

Click here to read more articles regarding Estate Planning and other areas of law

Click here to read the Coronavirus Resource Page created for businesses and individuals

This is not intended to be legal advice.  You should contact an attorney for advice regarding your specific situation.  


Michael Wagner is senior counsel concentrating on elder law and estate planning, wills and trusts.  He conducts several Estate Planning Seminars throughout the year.
He can be reached by phone at 866-303-9595 toll free or 845-764-9656 and by email.
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