In the past, most clients chose to keep paper copies of their documents in a file cabinet or safe with the hopes that family members would be able to find them in a crisis. Thanks to technology, storing documents is now easier than ever since they can be saved digitally on an online portal where both clients and their loved ones can easily access them. You still must hold onto your original estate plan documents, of course because the court will need to probate an original Will and most banks want to see a signed Power of Attorney.
Here are some websites that allow you to store your estate planning documents and any other important documents you may have, safely and securely:
Everplans (www.everplans.com) – This website launched in March 2014. When you sign up, you are asked to take a short, personal assessment, and answer questions about your marital status, children, and estate plan documents. After completing the questionnaire, you will receive customized recommendations on which tasks to handle first. They will also provide you with links to websites where you can download state-specific legal and health forms (e.g. for adult children who don’t live with you). Everplans offers both free and premium versions. The free version does not allow you to upload documents, but you can read numerous articles about estate and end-of-life planning. The premium version is $75 per year and includes access to live chat support.
The Torch (www.thetorch.com) – This site was launched in 2012 by Lenore Vassil, a former corporate technology executive. What makes the site unique when compared to the others is that it doesn't ask for personal information, such as account numbers. Instead, the site alerts two designated people regarding what documents you have and where to find them. This site is excellent for clients who are more private and uncomfortable with uploading their information to an online portal. The free version of the site allows you to provide basic information such as if you have retirement plans or life insurance so that your family knows these accounts exist. The paid Pro or Lifetime version costs $24 per year, or you can pay a one-time fee of $144 instead. This version allows you to upload the location of essential documents such as your Social Security card, birth certificate, etc.