Most tech-savvy professionals in California do almost everything online. They pay their bills, do their banking and conduct business electronically. Naturally, the first options they consider for storing an estate plan are online drives, dropboxes and cloud storage systems.
Those employed in computer technology often discount the risks of online storage due to their understanding of digital systems. However, electronic storage might not be the best option when your assets and future family security are at stake.
Are there any advantages?
Digital storage means you can access your estate planning documents virtually anywhere with an internet connection. It also allows your executor and your chosen representatives (like your health care agents) to find your estate documents quickly in an emergency.
Remember to provide your representatives with a password or other means of accessing your plan if you intend to keep it online.
Two potentially serious drawbacks of online storage
Ask yourself how secure your online storage account really is. Insufficient security is a leading cause of data loss when storing documents online or in the cloud. If you created your account in a hurry or didn’t read the fine print in your user agreement, your estate plan could be much more vulnerable than you may think. Top security risks to consider include:
- A lack of sufficient data encryption could threaten the secure storage of your online documents.
- Online storage companies without reliable data backup systems could lose your documents in a cloud storage crash
Those who still prefer online estate plan storage can reduce the risks above by using a hybrid storage model. For example, keep your original estate planning documents (and at least one copy) with your legal representative and store other copies online for easy access. It is also wise to keep a copy of your plan at home in a fire-proof and water-proof safe.