Vermont has recently updated its rules to both the witnessing of wills, under S. 316, and rent escrow hearings under S. 114. Changes have also been made to court procedures making it easier for defendants to waive their personal appearance before the court in some matters. DUI civil suspension hearings are also delayed during the emergency and the statute of limitations for initiating civil suits is similarly suspended. Some documents may substitute notarization for a declaration by the signer under the pains and penalties of perjury. Lastly many of these rule changes extend 30 to 60 days beyond the Governor lifting the emergency order.
Changes to the will signing and witnessing procedure now allow the witnesses to perform their duty over skype, zoom, and other web chat means. Attorneys signing wills should familiarize themselves with the State’s changes to the Notary rules during the Coronavirus emergency before executing wills during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For witnesses however, these new rules allow for more safety and security during this time. Two disinterested witnesses are needed but witnesses do not need to be physically present. This is very good news for those updating their wills during this time. As the most vulnerable among us update their estate plans they can rest assured that they are not exposing themselves to additional risk. Changes have also been made to allow Powers of Attorney and Deeds to be executed using the Emergency remote notary rules now in place.
Finally payment of rent to the court as rent escrow is now within the discretion of the court to determine whether full or partial payment of rent shall be made into the court’s rent escrow account.