When it’s time to begin estate planning – and for most of us, that time is almost always now – what’s the best way to go about it and to store your estate planning documents until they’re needed? It’s a question you should discuss – sooner rather than later – with an experienced Orange County estate planning lawyer. “Cloud-based” digital document storage services are rapidly becoming a popular, inexpensive way to store important legal, financial, and healthcare documents as well as family photos and other important personal items. The question is, are the digital end-of-life planning sites reliable, and do they leave your heirs with a clear picture of your assets and wishes?
There’s no doubt that the sites with names like Everplans, AfterSteps, and Principled Heart serve a need. Paper documents can be hidden in the strangest places and almost impossible to find when they’re needed. Theoretically, digital vaults that can hold documents like wills, trusts, and medical directives are a smart alternative. However, one concern is that the new digital archive sites are startups, and when it comes to something as serious as estate planning, you need a site to be permanent. For now, there’s no single go-to source for online end-of-life planning – yet. Of course, any company can fail or have its computers hacked, but with start-ups, that risk is high.
Currently, only several states honor digital wills, so it’s still imperative to have paper documents and to store them securely. Lawmakers and courts in all fifty states are only now beginning to consider and deal with digital archives, so it may be years before all the rules and guidelines can be hammered out and agreed upon. For now, if you have any questions or concerns regarding estate planning and the proper storage of your estate planning documents, have those concerns addressed right away by consulting with an experienced Orange County estate planning lawyer.