As discussed in a prior post, the estate planning process is not a do-it-yourself project. An experienced estate planning attorney is necessary to ensure that all of your wishes are met and that your loved ones are provided for after you pass away. However, after the estate plan has been created, what do you do with it? And what about all of the other, smaller details that come with incapacitation or passing?
New companies are springing up that deal with these specific issues. Instead of sticking the will in a manila envelope in a security deposit box or in the back of a filing cabinet, these companies store all of your estate planning documents online. Some companies allow you to do more than store your estate planning documents online. It helps you make all of the smaller decisions or even send out invitations to your memorial after you pass. These websites also provide for an executor or deputy to also have access to your plans so that they can be carried out once you have passed. These companies are also planning for their own demise – for example, Everplans has already enacted a plan that will allow users to access their estate planning materials up to fifty years after the company has been sold or dissolved.
For those who have already made all of the decisions about memorials, funerals, and smaller details there are still options for storing your estate documents securely online. Dropbox and SecureSafe are cloud storage options where you can upload your documents, and your executor or beneficiaries can access it from anywhere if they know the password. These options give you the benefits of online storage without needing to decide all of the extraneous options.
The most important thing to consider if you decide to store your estate planning documents with an online source is security. Some companies claim that they have “bank-level security” and others will tell you about the high level of encryption that will protect your documents online. For those not so tech-savvy the best option is to simply research the companies, read reviews, or ask your estate planning attorney for advice. Some estate planning attorneys are now setting up their own private online storage sites for estate planning documents that also allow their clients to detail arrangements for their passing, and other attorneys are working specifically in conjunction with already established companies
Whatever method you choose to store your estate plan, make sure that someone you trust knows where it is and how to access it. With the advent of end-of-life online companies it is now becoming easier to plan every detail of your estate plan from the largest legal aspects of inheritance and bequeathing to the smallest detail such as recommending a restaurant after the services. While it is still vital to have an estate planning attorney draft all of the legal documents of your plan, it is nice knowing that you can provide even more ease and direction to your loved ones after your passing.