Many people nowadays store sensitive paperwork in digital format, including estate documents like wills, trust documents, or a power of attorney. The problem is that keeping your documents in digital form provides a lot of opportunities to lose those documents or for unscrupulous parties to steal them.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways you can protect your digital estate documents from destruction or theft. CNBC explains how some of them work. Here are four steps you or someone you know can take to protect your sensitive digital documents.
Create additional copies
Making only one copy of a digital document puts it at risk of destruction or loss. You run a particular risk if you go traveling and take your one and only digital copy with you. Consider making multiple copies of your documents. Create copies especially for traveling purposes. Also think about making copies that you can store in a safe place.
Secure your documents
If you keep your documents on a device, consider what may happen if someone steals the device. A thief may have access to your important documents. However, if you encrypt your documents, you may protect them even if they wind up in the wrong hands. In addition, make sure your computers, phones or flash drives are not in a place where someone could steal them.
Use a cloud
You might not feel comfortable with keeping certain documents on physical storage devices like your phone or a flash drive. Some people prefer to store their documents within a data cloud. Clouds are available from a number of providers, and some of them offer free clouds if you just want to store a small amount of data.
Designate someone to access your social media
If an automobile accident or illness disables you, you probably will not have access to your emails, website, Facebook, Twitter, or other online accounts. Some of these accounts may contain your estate documents. Consider designating a person to act as a custodian over your social media and online accounts. This person can take over your accounts in the event you die or become disabled.