Investopedia’s recent article asks “Should You Store Estate-Planning Documents Digitally?” The article reports that two Arizona entrepreneurs who’d had enough with the massive amounts of paperwork for their own estates created Document Trunk. It’s a digital estate planning document storage platform. For an annual fee, you can store up to 10GB of estate documents.
After your information is in the database, a search is conducted daily to ensure that you are still living. If the system detects your name in an obituary or death notice, it will be confirmed. The estate’s primary contacts entered during registration will then be automatically notified. The system lets you enter up to 14 primary recipients to be notified if you pass away.
You also have the ability to limit who can access the documents. Digital storage, the company says, ensures that your documents are kept secure through encryption.
However, one of the biggest obstacles to the use of this system is legal. Digital copies of your estate planning documents may not be legal in the county and state where your estate is located.
In addition, you need to be sure to update the contact information for your primary beneficiaries.
Whether storing your estate planning documents on a digital platform is the best solution for your needs is a topic you should discuss with your estate planning attorney. He or she may have other digital options for storing your legal papers. A number of financial institutions offer similar platforms, often with the ability to centralize all of your financial accounts—from credit cards to insurance policies and bank and investment accounts.
Even if you do use a digital system, there are always drawbacks with any computer or electronic storage. Be safe and make certain that your attorney has properly executed hard copies of your will and other estate planning documents—if he or she has undertaken the responsibility (and liability) to do so. You should also let your executor, family, or other loved ones know the location of these documents in the event that they may need them.
Reference: Investopedia (June 9, 2016) “Should You Store Estate-Planning Documents Digitally?