What to know about digital estate documents

| Jan 14, 2020 | Estate Law |

For various reasons, such as convenience or the need to keep important documents mobile, people choose to maintain digital copies of their estate documents. While Texas residents may benefit from keeping digitized versions of their estate documents on hand, there are also pitfalls to watch out for. CNBC provides some tips to help ensure digital documents are not lost, destroyed, or stolen.

First, keep in mind that electronic devices may crash or break for a multitude of reasons and destroy your document files. Without backup copies, you may lose important information. Producing multiple copies and keeping them in alternate locations may prevent such a loss from occurring. Some people use flash drives or discs, while others store their copies up in a cloud.

You also should consider the security of your estate documents. Emailing sensitive documents puts them at risk in the event someone steals or hacks your phone, your laptop, or the devices of whoever you email your documents to. Keeping your documents on a removable flash drive or a secured digital card may help keep your documents from falling into the wrong hands. When you travel with important documents, consider encrypting them in whatever device you use.

You also should remember that one day you will pass away and someone else will need access to your digital assets to comply with your estate wishes. Consider composing a plan for a trusted individual to access your social media accounts, emails and other digital accounts. Various companies will have their own policies to allow someone to access an account of a deceased person, so you may need to perform some research on the platforms you currently use.

Finally, keep your estate documents in an accessible place. Some people make electronic copies on a flash drive and store them in a safety deposit box at a bank. However, if you need someone to access the flash drive in a timely manner, this may not be wise. U.S. News and World Report explains that a person might need an important document during closed bank hours and will have to wait, perhaps until Monday, for the bank to reopen. This can cause problems for estate executors or people who need a power of attorney document.