Even the best estate plans are completely worthless if no one knows the estate planning documents exist or they cannot otherwise be found. A will cannot be submitted to court, for example, if no one produces the will.
Several companies are attempting to fix this problem by storing documents digitally in the cloud. These services do help protect documents from being destroyed in a natural disaster or misplaced by other means. However, they do not fully solve the problem.
Someone still must know the documents are stored digitally and how to retrieve them.
ABC 15 reports on a new service that seeks to solve these problems in "Phoenix man launches website to store estate planning documents."
Document Trunk takes a proactive step to learn when its clients pass away. It uses an algorithm to scan the Internet on a daily basis for any information that suggests one of its clients has died, such as a local obituary listing. If the algorithm comes up with a hit, then company staff confirms the death.
When a client's death is verified, the company releases estate planning documents to the appropriate people.
While digital services like Document Trunk can provide a helpful solution to estate planning document storage, the best strategy is still to let family members or friends know that you have an estate plan and where they can find your legal documents if anything happens to you.
It goes without saying, you should tell your family the name of the attorney who drew up your estate plan so that attorney can be contacted when you pass away.
Reference: ABC 15 (May 24, 2016) "Phoenix man launches website to store estate planning documents."