Don’t Let It Go Away

Comprehensive Estate Planning involves a multitude of legal documents: a Living Trust, Pour Over Wills, Durable General Power of Attorney documents, Health Care documents, Property Agreements, Assignments, Deeds, and Beneficiary Designations to name a few.  Once clients have completed their Estate Planning and realize how many documents comprise their Estate Planning portfolio, the question becomes where to safely store such documents.

Historically, when Estate Planning did not involve so many documents, clients would often keep their original documents in safe deposit boxes at the local bank.  As the number and length of Estate Planning documents grew, it became more difficult to find a safe deposit box large enough and thus many clients chose to buy safes to keep at home in order to store their Estate Planning documents.  However, the Japanese tsunami has taught us that safes – and perhaps even safe deposit boxes – are not foolproof.

According to recent press reports, hundreds of dented metal safes are washing up on the shores of Japan's coast.  The  Ofunato, Japan Police Department found so many washed up safes that the department transformed its parking garage into a storage facility for washed up safes.  Compounding the problem is that many safes could go unclaimed.  The safes' owners could have passed away and family members might not be aware of the safes or might not be able to accurately describe them or know how to open them.  Furthermore, even if a person is able to track down a safe, it may be very difficult to prove ownership.  Finally, even if a safe is located and a person is able to prove ownership, the contents of a safe might be destroyed.

Fortunately, modern technology provides a simple solution: storing an electronic version of your Estate Planning documents online.  In response to disasters such as the hurricane in New Orleans and the tsunami in Japan, many businesses and individuals now regularly make electronic copies of all their important documents and keep them backed up online.  Most online back-up services have multiple storage facilities throughout the country so if a natural disaster strikes one part of the country, the data will still be safe.  Companies such as LegalVault provide a secure online database to store electronic copies of your legal and financial documents.  Not only will the documents be protected from natural disasters, but you will be able to access your documents from any computer around the world.

Protecting your legal documents is just as important as executing them in the first place.  To quote the famous rock star Gwen Stefani, "Don't let it go away."  With secure online storage, you can have peace of mind that your important legal documents will not disappear. 

For more information about LegalVault, please see the LegalVault page on this website,