Remote Witnessing of Wills Temporarily Allowed in New York due to Coronavirus

The laws in New York formerly required people to be in the same room to sign or witness documents like wills, trusts and powers of attorney. On March 7th Governor Cuomo issued an expanded emergency order that enables us to get documents signed, witnessed and notarized 100% by video conference. No need for anyone to be "in person" to get those essential documents done. The Executive Order is in effect until May 7, 2020. With the Executive Order, the act of witnessing can now be performed remotely by virtual means, provided that the following requirements are met:


  • The will-maker, if not personally known to the witnesses, must present valid photo ID to the witnesses during the video conference, not merely transmit it prior to or after;

  • The video conference must allow for direct interaction between the testator and the witnesses, and the supervising attorney, if applicable (e.g., no pre-recorded videos of the testator signing);

  • The witnesses must receive a legible copy of the signature pages, which may be transmitted via fax or electronic means, on the same date that the testator signs the Will;

  • The witnesses may sign the transmitted copy of the Will's signature pages and transmit the same back to the testator; and

The witnesses may repeat the witnessing of the original signature pages as of the date of execution provided the witnesses receive such original signature pages together with the electronically witnessed copies within thirty days after the date of execution.

Recent Posts

See All

Taxation of Non-grantor Trusts

Non-grantor trusts, are separate taxpaying entities. Income taxes generated by the trust are paid for by the trust. The trust must file fiduciary income tax return (Form 1041). In simple terms, if any

When is a Federal Gift Tax Return Required?

For federal gift tax purposes, the value of a gift of property is the fair market value of the property at the time of the gift. Where property is transferred for less than full consideration, the amo

What is a Trustee?

What is a trust? A trust exists when one person (the trustee) holds title to property for the benefit of another person (the beneficiary). A person called the grantor (also known as the settlor or tru