Litigation Risks of COVID-19 Remote Witness and Notary Laws


CLE credits earned: 1 GENERAL (or 1 LAW & LEGAL for WA state)

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many states have temporarily authorized or expanded remote notarization and witnessing of critical transactional and estate planning documents. Remote notarization and remote witnessing present a number of unique risks, particularly in the context of the execution of estate planning documents. States have taken varying steps to address these risks, some more robust than others. In this CLE, we will review the basic elements of remote notarization and witnessing orders and statutes, discuss litigation risks for documents executed under these orders and statutes, and enumerate some considerations for minimizing those risks where possible.

Key topics to be discussed:

•    Overview of Remote notarization and witnessing laws
•    Risks of remote notarization and witnessing in the estate planning context
•    Considerations for remote notarization and witnessing of estate planning documents

Date / Time: May 15, 2020

•   3:00 pm – 4:00 pm Eastern
•   2:00 pm – 3:00 pm Central
•   1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Mountain
•   12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Pacific

Choose a format:

•   Live Video Broadcast/Re-Broadcast: Watch Program “live” in real-time, must sign-in and watch program on date and time set above. May ask questions during presentation via chat box. Qualifies for “live” CLE credit.
•   On-Demand Video: Access CLE 24/7 via on-demand library and watch program anytime. Qualifies for self-study CLE credit. On-demand versions are made available 5 business days after the original recording date and are view-able for up to one year.
Closed-captioning available upon request

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Original Broadcast Date: May 15, 2020

Sasha Riedisser is a member of the firm’s Commercial Disputes Practice Group and focuses her practice on Fiduciary Litigation. Prior to joining the firm, Ms. Riedisser interned in the estate and tax planning department at Stifel Nicolaus, where she worked to provide guidance to clients regarding their estate plans. Ms. Riedisser volunteered at Arch City Defenders in St. Louis, Missouri. In this position, she helped litigate civil rights actions in the Eastern District of Missouri. Ms. Riedisser graduated from Washington University in St. Louis School of Law where she attended on a full tuition scholarship as a Dean’s Scholar. She excelled not only in her doctrinal classes but also in her practical classes. Ms. Riedisser earned high passes in Trial, Practice, and Procedure and Advanced Trial Advocacy. During law school, Ms. Riedisser was a member of the national moot court team. She was also a finalist in the Wiley Rutledge Moot Court competition. Ms. Riedisser was on staff for Washington University’s Jurisprudence Review. During her third year of law school, Ms. Riedisser worked to request writs of habeas corpus for inmates on death row through Washington University’s post-conviction relief clinic. Prior to law school, Ms. Riedisser worked as a graduate research assistant at the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change and as a teacher.

Douglas (Doug) Stanley counsels and advises clients, including high net-worth individuals, professionals and entrepreneurs, on a wide range of sophisticated estate planning, tax and fiduciary matters. His broad practice includes estate planning and administration as well as income tax planning, with a particular emphasis in the areas of wealth transfer tax planning and wealth transfer strategies. Mr. Stanley has experience in individual estate administration, closely-held business succession planning, asset protection and tax financial planning. As co-leader of the firm’s Fiduciary Litigation Team, a significant portion of Mr. Stanley’s practice is dedicated to fiduciary conflict resolution and tax controversy work, including representation of clients in trust and estate administration disputes in local courts, during IRS audits and in the U.S. Tax Court. Mr. Stanley is a member of the Fiduciary Litigation Committee of ACTEC. He is frequently called upon to speak on fiduciary topics throughout the United States and has been quoted or featured by The Wall Street Journal, CNN and Financial Planning. Mr. Stanley is currently an adjunct professor in Tax at Washington University School of Law and a Fellow of the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel. Mr. Stanley has developed many detailed and specialized estate plans which have included revocable trusts, qualified personal residence trusts, grantor retained annuity trusts, partnerships, limited liability companies, irrevocable defective grantor trusts, and private annuities. Additionally, he has experience with life insurance trusts, retirement account analysis, planning for non-U.S. citizens, charitable trusts, foundations and other charitable planning. Mr. Stanley routinely negotiates and prepares premarital and postmarital agreements to coordinate with an individual’s estate planning goals. Prior to law school, Mr. Stanley practiced as a CPA with an international accounting firm.

Andrew Bleyer provides clients with a broad range of solutions to complex fiduciary conflicts and tax planning challenges. As part of the Fiduciary Litigation team, Mr. Bleyer represents financial institutions and individuals in complex fiduciary conflicts. Mr. Bleyer has experience with a wide variety of trust disputes, ranging from complicated family business conflicts to knotty tax issues. Mr. Bleyer’s tax controversy experience includes representing clients regarding valuation, estate, gift, and G.S.T. tax issues. Mr. Bleyer’s planning practice is focused on assisting families and business owners with wealth preservation and tax planning. His experience and tax LL.M. provide Mr. Bleyer with a wide variety of sophisticated trust, charitable, and closely-held business planning strategies to help clients meet their goals. While earning both a J.D. cum laude and an LL.M. in taxation at Washington University in St. Louis, Mr. Bleyer served as Managing Editor of the Jurisprudence Review and received awards for excellence in Oral Advocacy, Income Taxation, and Wealth Planning and Drafting.

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