The coronavirus health crisis is a constant reminder that life doesn't last forever.

Attorneys in New Jersey claim they've been quite busy with clients interested in drafting a will for when they pass away, or those who haven't looked at theirs in years and are finally getting around to making important updates.

"It's important for everyone, no matter how old they are, to have a will, and also to have a power of attorney and a living will. Technically once you're over 18, your parents can't make decisions for you anymore," said Elizabeth Candido Petite, an estate planning attorney with Lindabury, McCormick, Estabrook & Cooper in Westfield.

For the past four months or so, Petite has seen a spike in interest in drafting wills, primarily among older adults. One of her clients, who recently turned 100 years old, lost a son to COVID-19 and realized she needed to update her beneficiaries.

"A lot of times people have said, in light of what's going on, we thought that it was important to get this done," Petite said. "Other people have said we're stuck at home, we have time to review this."

And they're getting it done in a non-traditional way — arriving with their own pen for a signature session outdoors, she said.

Remote notarization of certain documents, such as wills, is not permitted in New Jersey, even during the health crisis. Also, two witnesses must be present for the signing.

Contact reporter Dino Flammia at

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