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Are digital wills the wave of the estate planning future?

More and more people are turning to technology to improve their everyday lives, and the applications seem endless. In terms of estate planning, technology offers the chance to create digital wills, which serve to put one's estate plan into a completely digital format. While this ability appeals to some in Philadelphia, many others have concerns about taking their estate planning to the web.

A digital will can be best conceived as an online storage of one's estate planning documents. In theory, having these important documents stored online could prevent loss due to fire, theft, flood or other dangers. Online storage could also make it easier for family members to access these documents when the time comes.

One of the biggest issues with digital estate planning involves the security of an individual's documents. Everyone is aware of the risk of an online security breach, and many people are nervous about the risk of having their personal financial information shared without their consent. In addition, if the company chosen to fill this need were to go out of business, a question exists concerning the fate of the estate planning information that was stored with that company.

For the time being, many in Philadelphia are unwilling to have their estate planning become fully digital. Having the option to upload a copy of these documents appeals to many, but most will retain one or more printed versions to protect against unexpected loss. While digital wills might one day be standard practice in the estate planning world, they are currently more of a novelty than a norm.

Source: CNBC, "Is a digital last will and testament right for you?", Constance Gustke, Oct. 19, 2015

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