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Digital Storage for Estate Planning Documents: Is it Right for You?

07/18/2016

Estate Planning Documents

Digital vaults for important legal documents are not new, but their use is growing. In a recent article, “Should You Store Estate-Planning Documents Digitally?,” Investopedia considers two entrepreneurs from Arizona who created a digital estate planning document storage platform after mapping out plans for their own estates and finding the thick files of paper documents to be far too cumbersome for their otherwise highly digital world. Their platform, Document Trunk, allows up to 10GB of estate documents to be stored online.

Once 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.

If you decide to go with digital storage for estate planning documents, be prepared for potential problems. The probate court in your state may not accept a printed copy from a digital will vault, and if so, your executor will need to have an original executed copy. Whether your estate planning documents are digital or paper, make sure that your executor, family members and other loved ones know where your original documents are stored.

Reference: Investopedia (June 9, 2016) “Should You Store Estate-Planning Documents Digitally?

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