In recent years, a number of digital document companies or archives have appeared promising to give you the ability to keep your important estate planning documents safe in a digital, cloud-based platform. While the promise these companies hold out to potential consumers seems like a positive, there are significant downsides as well. Digital document services need to be approached with caution, and should ideally be used, if at all, as a backup or safety measure.
Digital Document Services
The companies that provide digital document storage or access do so because it is easy for people to lose track of important information. It’s quite common for spouses to die and their surviving spouses and relatives be unable to locate important documents. Whether the important documents relate to estate planning, financial planning, or something else, this could cause a significant hardship for those left behind if they need specific information or a critical document and are unable to find it.
The Perils of Digital Storage
Having important estate planning documents available for your family members to access and use when necessary is important. However, using digital storage as a panacea to deal with any potential problems your relatives might have in finding those documents is not without risks.
Storing your estate planning tools digitally can be effective as long as others know where to find them. If you store your last will and testament on your computer, will your loved ones know how to find it? Will they know how to access the printed version once they locate the digital copy?
If you choose a digital document service company, will your loved ones know what company you have chosen? If so, will they know how to contact that company and retrieve your documents?
Another important question surrounds the viability of these digital document storage companies. Most companies have come into existence within the past few years, and not all have survived. DocuBank is a notable exception, as it has been around for quite some time. But the chance that one of the new digital storage company could fail is significant. If and when that happens, what becomes of the digital documents you have placed in the company’s possession? Will you be able to retrieve those documents? If you cannot, do you have backups?
Whenever you have important estate planning, financial, or other types of documents, knowing how to keep them secure and ensure others will have access to them when the time comes is important. If you want to discuss your options, contact us so we can give you advice and guidance on what we have found to be effective.