Will digital wills become the next estate planning norm?

On behalf of Kaplin Stewart Meloff Reiter & Stein, P.C. posted in Estate Planning on Oct 30, 2015.

For many in Pennsylvania, technology has become an integral part of everyday life. People turn to the digital realm to find recipes, connect with friends and family, and find videos on how to repair our vehicles. It should come as no surprise that technology can also provide estate planning solutions, although there is some debate over the wisdom of relying too heavily on such new tools.

Digital wills have received a great deal of attention recently. These estate planning tools allow users to create a comprehensive estate planning package then upload those documents to be stored online. This means that when the time comes to turn to those documents, loved ones will be able to access all of the information they need in one central location.

This appeals to many who worry that their important paperwork could be lost due to fire, flood, theft or other calamities. Some worry that their loved ones will simply be unable to find the documents when the time comes. Others are concerned that heirs might experience high levels of stress over the possibility that some documents might be missing.

When considering digital wills, it is important that Pennsylvania residents understand that there are potential drawbacks to these tools as well. For one, there are issues of security to think about as estate planning documents contain a wide range of personal and financial information. Also, if the company that provides the online storage goes out of business, clients could be left with no ability to access these important documents. For the time being, most people will be more comfortable with a blend of technology and tradition, which means they will choose to have both a digital and hard copy of their estate plan.

Source: CNBC, “Is a digital last will and testament right for you?“, Constance Gustke, Oct. 19, 2015