Storing your estate plan online requires great care.
It seems as if everything is online these days.
What about your estate plan?
According to a recent CNBC article titled “Here's what you need to know before storing your will online,” several companies are offering services for storing assets online.
As the account owner, you can do this anywhere there is internet connection.
However, storing your estate plan online should not be done without careful forethought.
What should you consider?
You should be organized.
It can be a helpful tool for including your online accounts in your estate plan.
Failing to include these may mean they are doomed to be destroyed.
You should also provide specific permissions for accessing digital assets.
Although the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA) allows fiduciaries to access certain digital assets in 45 states and the District of Columbia, it does not include full access to your assets like your emails, social media accounts, and texts.
If you want these to be accessed and controlled by others, you will need to specifically relay this information in your will or as specified by governing statutes.
When you have created your estate plan, you should discuss your wishes with your executors.
Your executor should have the logins and passwords for your accounts.
If your account has security questions, you should also provide the appropriate answers.
Before you decide on a specific online storage provider, be sure you understand their security protocols.
Because estate planning contains sensitive information, the service should provide encryption and comply with all compliance protocols.
In addition to storing your estate plan and digital assets online, you should also have a physical document kept in a safe location.
The physical signed documents may be required by institutions for your health care directive or your power of attorney.
Similarly, many states require the physical, original copies of your other legal documents.
You should store these in a secure location with your other important documents, like your marriage license and your birth certificates.
Is a safe deposit box a good option?
It will be difficult for your agents to access these without the documents granting them specific authority.
They will not have the documents required to access the documents because they would be locked in the box.
Can you store your estate plan and digital assets online?
Nevertheless, you should be sure your estate plan is secure and comprehensive wherever stored.
Storing your plan online does not mean you can ignore or dispose of your signed, physical originals.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: CNBC (July 25, 2018) “Here's what you need to know before storing your will online”