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Updates to Estate Planning During COVID-19

Daniel S. Williford Author Photo
Daniel S. Williford
Apr 28, 2020
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Dear Valued Clients, Family and Friends,

This is an update to our prior message providing you with updates on how estate planning practice has changed even in the last few weeks.  We hope that you and your families are keeping safe and healthy as we continue to navigate through the New York State PAUSE through at least May 15, 2020. 

For estate planning purposes, we continue to be available through the mediums addressed in my prior message and can notarize documents via videoconference.  What has changed significantly is that on April 7, 2020, an Executive Order signed by Governor Cuomo began allowing remote witnessing of documents such as Last Will and Testaments and Health Care Proxies.  We have developed a system of videoconferencing with two witnesses in order to witness and notarize your documents.  Some key elements of the Executive Order are  that the signed documents need to be sent electronically to the attorney that same day and then the original documents need to be sent back to our office so that the notary and witnesses can complete the documents.  It is not necessary for in-person contact with this Executive Order, allowing your documents to be completed without worry of exposure.         

For long term care planning purposes, not much has changed since our last message but the New York State Budget did throw some curveballs for Medicaid eligibility.  First, if you receive or plan to apply for Community Medicaid, New York just instituted a 30-month look back period for gifts for Community Medicaid.  This will go into effect on October 1, 2020.  Second, the rules have been relaxed with respect to attesting of assets, income and gifting for Medicaid applications at this time.  This means that the Medicaid office will not be reviewing five years of financial statements and will streamline the Medicaid eligibility process.  We will still be requesting five years of documentation because we would not want a client to attest to that information without having the documentation to back it up.  Also, there is an indication that Medicaid will be following up with the review of five years of materials at some point once restrictions are lifted so it is prudent to continue to collect all of the information.     

For estate administration purposes, Monroe County Surrogate’s Court continues to accept emergency filings and appointments of Preliminary Executors in order to avoid loss or depreciation of assets.  We continue to meet the needs of our clients who require fiduciary appointments for estate administrations.    

On a personal note, my family is staying safe and as isolated as possible.  Warm and sunny days like Saturday are definitely being celebrated.  We are having an isolation birthday party this week for our soon to be 5-year-old son.  Lots of cake, drive by family members, Zoom family meetings and presents.  Due to the time spent together, it is nice to see our 5-year-old son and our 2-½-year old son bonding.  This experience has made them closer and they enjoy playing together a lot more now.  Our daughter continues to be the happiest 8-month-old baby and we are blessed that she is doing so well.

We continue to be amazed at the spirit and sacrifices of our health care professionals, first responders, grocery store employees and other people across many essential businesses.  We will forever be in your debt.   

Contact us at MCCM regarding your estate planning, estate administration and Elder Law needs.


This publication is intended as an information source for clients, prospective clients, and colleagues and constitutes attorney advertising. The content should not be considered legal advice and readers should not act upon information in this publication without individualized professional counsel.

About MCCM

McConville Considine Cooman & Morin, P.C. is a full-service law firm based in Rochester, New York, providing high-quality legal services to businesses and individuals since 1979.  With over a dozen attorneys and a full paralegal support staff, the firm is well-positioned to right-size services tailored to each client. We are large enough to provide expertise in a broad range of practice areas, yet small enough to devote prompt, personal attention to our clients.

We represent a diverse range of clients located throughout New York State and New England.  They include individuals, numerous manufacturing and service industry businesses, local governments, and health care professionals, provider groups, facilities and associations. We also serve as local counsel to out-of-state clients and their attorneys who have litigation pending in Western New York courts.  For more information, please contact us at 585.546.2500.