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Should I store my estate planning documents online?

There's no disputing how important it is for you to keep all your estate planning documents together. By doing this, you will help ensure that the executor of your estate is easily able to find them when you pass away.

If you're considering storing them in an online dropbox though, you'll want to first check into how secure it is. If you plan to store passwords or financial data in it, you'll want to make sure that it encrypts the information. If you're planning to include health data there, you'll want to check to see if the tool is Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) compliant.

Before you even decide whether to retain paper records or to store them online, you'll want to pick someone trustworthy to serve as executor of your estate. You'll want to feel comfortable with them having all of your logins and passwords for your accounts. When you let them know what your login credentials are, you'll also want to provide them with your answers to any security questions that may be asked.

As you're organizing your list of accounts, you'll want to keep in mind that Utah hasn't yet subscribed to the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access Digital Assets Act of 2015. Should it become law, as it is currently in 45 other states, an executor will only be able to gain full access to testator's financial accounts if they were permitted to do so in a legally binding document.

Even if you decide that storing your estate planning documents online and giving your executor the necessary permissions to access your accounts prior to your death works for you, you'll want to keep paper copies of everything as well. While some hospitals may accept electronic health care powers of attorney, probate judges may only consider a signed hard copy of your will to be legally binding.

Contrary to popular belief, estate planning isn't something that only senior citizens need to do. You don't need to be terminally ill or have substantial assets to draft a health care directive or a will. An attorney can help you determine which estate planning documents are appropriate for your needs.

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