Though the following story doesn’t necessarily relate to the Sacramento, California area, the geographic location isn’t the defining trait of this story. A man in Phoenix has developed a company that digitally stores estate planning documents on your behalf — and then the site’s algorithm searches the web for information about you to confirm or deny if you are alive. If you aren’t, the company will forward your critical estate planning documents to your loved ones and family members.
Now, there are some obvious benefits to this service and some clear issues. It sounds great to be able to digitally store your documents so that you don’t have to keep many copies of vital documents in a plethora of safe places or with select people.
However, if there’s one thing everyone has learned about the internet, it is that it is nowhere near as secure as it seems. Data breaches are not uncommon, and with the vital information stored in estate planning documents, an online security breach could ruin your estate plan. And we haven’t even begun to talk about the privacy concerns relating to this company’s algorithm that searches for you online to confirm if you are dead or alive.
This isn’t meant as a “takedown” piece of tech companies, startups and apps. The service sounds great in this case. But some people prefer to talk to an actual experienced professional about their estate plan to ensure it is proper and secure. The internet can’t solve everything, and digitally storing your estate plan, though a great idea in practice, may not work for some people on paper (or, in this case, online).
Source: ABC 15, “Phoenix man launches website to store estate planning documents,” Angie Koehle, May 24, 2016