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Pros and cons of digital estate documents storage

Florida residents may have heard about companies that offer online storage of important documents to make it easier to settle an estate after a person passes away. Before people opt to use such sites, there are several important considerations to keep in mind.

Most of these companies provide a central place to store documents regarding assets and liabilities. Often, executors and family members have difficulty locating important documents after a loved one's death, making these sites attractive. There are several potential problems with choosing an online document storage company, however.

People need to first understand that most online companies are start-ups, making them more likely to change hands or fail. This brings the possibility of losing the important stored documents. Another problem is the potential for hackers to access private and confidential information, even when a site is encrypted. People should also be aware that a majority of states require that a formal, original signed will is filed, and so the will cannot be electronically stored. It may make more sense for people to store important estate documents in a safety deposit box or another chosen, safe location and to communicate where that location is to their loved ones.

Comprehensive estate plans will often involve far more than a will. An estate planning attorney may suggest a number of different documents that are appropriate to meet a particular client's goals and needs, including powers of attorney that will allow a trusted agent to make financial or health care decisions on behalf of the principal in the event that the latter becomes incapacitated and is unable to do so.

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