What You Need to Know
There are a variety of different ways you can make sure your family has access to your important documents, accounts, and information. Think about which method would be easiest for you to accomplish, or which method would be easiest for your family to access and use.
Without access to your important documents and information, your family will likely have to locate all of this info on their own, which can be complicated and challenging—and even then, they might not find everything.
By organizing your information and sharing it with your family, you can help them more easily apply for and claim benefits, get through the probate process, close bank accounts, pay any final estate or income taxes, avoid unnecessary charges from ongoing subscriptions, and distribute, sell, or donate any personal items that were not included in your Will, among other things.
Secure Online Storage
Everplans helps you create, organize and securely share important legal, financial and health information in one place so that your family and loved ones can access it when it’s needed. The Everplan platform allows users to create and upload documents such as a will, life insurance, health information, online account info, and even personal funeral wishes. All information is encrypted and securely stored in a vault that allows users to control who sees what information and when.
Many families find it easiest to save printed copies of various documents and information and keep them in a physical folder in a safe place in the house. We recommend keeping everything—including advance directives, wills, financial information/passwords, and funeral/disposition instructions—all together in a single place, like a locked file cabinet. While this method makes it easy for your family to find everything and doesn't require much tech knowledge, it's not the most secure way to store your information.
If you are going to store your information and documents online, here are some tips:
• Organize related information and documents into clearly labeled folders, such as "Life Insurance," "Credit Cards," "Utilities," and other categories.
• Be sure to tell a number of people whom you trust where the documents are stored. You could consider telling your spouse, your adult children, or a professional you work with such as your attorney.
• If your documents are stored in a locked location, make sure that the right people know how to access that location, either by having keys or combinations, or knowing where keys or combinations are stored. If your documents are stored in a locked location, the keys or combinations to access those documents should not be stored in the locked location.
• Do not store your documents and information in a safe deposit box. The bank will likely require your family to get a court order to access the box, which could take a long time.