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Theus Law Offices is rated 5 out of 5.0 stars based on 5 review(s).

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Most people have many questions about estate planning but never make a move to go see an attorney. Before Theus' free seminar I did not even know their were attorneys that specialized in only estate planning. Thank goodness I attended...as I did not even know what asset protection was, even though I had assets. Most people think a written will is fine and pass away thinking that things will be as they wished/stated. Most times that is not the case. I urge you to go Theus Law Offices for consultation. They are friendly and down to earth with your wishes being #1. I cannot say enough good things about them. Now that I have gone to Theus I rest so much easier knowing that my wishes...are going to be held up...just as I wanted...no doubt about it....Thanks to the Theus family !

- Peyton Guillory

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The Theus Law Offices’ Family Estate Planning is a must from my perspective. I had recently lost my dad when I decide to attend the in-person Workshop at the time. My dad and I had attended a similar workshop some four (4) years prior but my dad didn’t elect at the time to move forward. I so wished that he (my dad) had done so because now I am helping my mom go through the Succession/Probate steps with a lawyer currently. If you or your loved ones haven’t made this decision with Estate Planning, I would strongly encourage you to attend this web-based workshop/webinar. Graves Theus is a great attorney to go with for this important step in you and your family’s planning for the future in many, many ways!!!

- Mark Johnson

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The Theus Law Offices’ Family Estate Planning is a must from my perspective. I had recently lost my dad when I decide to attend the in-person Workshop at the time. My dad and I had attended a similar workshop some four (4) years prior but my dad didn’t elect at the time to move forward. I so wished that he (my dad) had done so because now I am helping my mom go through the Succession/Probate steps with a lawyer currently. If you or your loved ones haven’t made this decision with Estate Planning, I would strongly encourage you to attend this web-based workshop/webinar. Graves Theus is a great attorney to go with for this important step in you and your family’s planning for the future in many, many ways!!!

- Mark Johnson

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They are a wonderful Team!

- Jessica Cole

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Estate planning is a complicated process, but my wife and I feel it is valuable and necessary. We started by attending an Estate Planning workshop offered by the Theus Law Offices and led by Jim Theus. That was about the wisest decision we have made in some time. We engaged the services of Theus Law Offices and have benefitted enormously from the direct working relationship with Jim Theus. They did not sign us up and then pass us off to a staff member. We worked with Jim Theus personally. When it was time to work with others of the staff, we found them friendly, knowledgeable, and professional. Jim Theus is exceptionally competent and patiently answers questions. His due diligence is admirable. We found their fees for estate planning reasonable and fair. You would be wise to consider using the services of Theus Law Offices if you are interested in estate planning. We are grateful for their help and recommend them to you without reservations. Our loved ones will also be the beneficiaries of a comprehensive plan, as are we. Doyle L Bailey

- Doyle Bailey

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The Future Is (Almost) Here (Electronic Notarization and Louisiana Proclamation 37)


20 April, 2020

The Future Is (Almost) Here (Electronic Notarization and Louisiana Proclamation 37)
The current pandemic has accelerated the inevitable shift beyond bricks and mortar.  We have been following this trend since 2017, which was our last post on Disruptive Innovations in Estate Planning.  The coronaviris is - to put it quite mildly - disruptive. 

In response to the Covid-19 pandemic, Governor John Bel Edwards recently issued Proclamation 37, which temporarily allows remote notarization of certain documents, except wills, trusts, inter vivos donations, matrimonial agreements, acts pertaining to spousal support, and authentic acts.

As of this writing, twenty-three (23) states have enacted legislation allowing remote notarization, including Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin.  Wisconsin was the last to join the party on March 20, 2020.

As of this writing, thirty-seven (37) states allow electronic notarization.  What's the difference?  Electronic notarization recognizes the validity of a digital signature of a notary without relaxing the requirement of the physical presence of the notary, while remote notarization does not require the physical presence of the notary, who would be allowed to observe and certify the formalities of execution of a document through video conferencing technology. 

Louisiana is actually among the states that currently allows electronic notarization.  The Louisiana Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (La. R.S. 9:2601, et seq) (the "LUETA") was adopted by the Louisiana legislature in 2001, which basically provides that digital signatures, including those of a notary, are just as valid as wet signatures.  The specific language is a follows:

"If a law requires a signature or record to be notarized, acknowledged, verified, or made under oath, the requirement is satisfied if the electronic signature of the person authorized to perform those acts, together with all other information required to be included by other applicable law, is attached to or logically associated with the signature or record."  La. R.S. 9:2606

Wills, codicils, and testamentary trusts are specifically excluded from the Louisiana Uniform Electronic Transactions Act. La. R.S. 9:2603(B)(1).  So electronic wills are still not allowed in Louisiana, at least for the time being. 

"Authentic acts," which require execution of a document in the presence of a notary and witnesses, appear to be excepted from Proclamation 37. As such, Proclamation 37 doesn't provide much needed relief from necessary social distancing for most transactions, including real estate transfers, wills, trusts, or any document requiring execution in the presence of a notary and witnesses.

John Bel has rung the bell with Proclamation 37, but the Louisiana legislature will ultimately have to move us further toward the inevitable and promising(!) future of remote notarization.

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