It is not uncommon that someone dies without the surviving family members knowing if the decedent left a will or where it might be. Placing wills and other important estate planning documents in a personal safe or in a safety deposit box in a bank seems like a sensible precaution, but only works if some besides the grantor knows – and remembers – where the documents are stored.
A Possible Solution: Digital Wills
To address these issues, several startups now offer online will storage, known as digital wills. Using these services assures that your will is safe and cannot be destroyed by fire or flood. Additionally, as long as a family member is aware of your digital will, the document can be easily retrieved.
Pitfalls of Digital Wills
However, digital wills are not perfect. Here are just a few possible issues:
- Being stored on the Internet makes them susceptible to security breaches or data failure.
- Several startups offering these services have already gone out of business or sold their interests to other companies, in some cases leaving people with just 30 days to arrange for their will.
- You might assume that preparing a digital will means that an attorney isn’t necessary, but this is seldom true.
The Ideal Solution
A will, while important, is just one aspect of a comprehensive estate plan. You might also need a trust, power of attorney, or health care proxy. Further, these documents need to stay up-to-date to be useful. An estate planning attorney at TuckerAllen can review your circumstances and suggest which documents would be appropriate for you. After completion of the documents, we can upload them to our secure digital portal where you will have access at any time. You may also retain physical copies of the documents to place in a safe or safety deposit box.