In an age where everyone is “going digital” and we all strive to reduce our use of paper in order to save the environment we have to remember that this advice or way of thinking doesn’t always make estate planning easy. Most of us now receive paperless bills, paperless invoices and we can even pay for things by using our phone. The world really has changed and everything we do seems to be about convenience.
When it comes to Wills, if you have digitised your life and live one that is entirely paperless this could cause problems for your family when they are dealing with probate. It could make it particularly difficult for family members to identify assets or locate debts as quite often these are located from paper statements received through the post.
Most of us now receive paperless bills, paperless invoices and we can even pay for things by using our phone.
A paper trail could be a lifesaver when it comes to managing your estate after you have passed away. This is because executors will be able to put their hands on records and documents that relate to your accounts, your commitments and any suppliers. They can essentially piece your life together in order to find out the information that they need to finalise your estate. What this means is that they can go to the relevant businesses and organisations, armed with a death certificate and close all accounts and commitments in the right way.
The problem with online accounts is that they become more personal to you. If everything is done online, unless you inform your executors that they exist, they might have problems finding them. You might have had savings in a specific account, or you might have made investments that could now be worth a lot of money. Whatever it might be, giving all of the relevant information to your executors will make the entire process a lot more efficient for them.
When dealing with probate an executor will need to identify all assets and debts and this responsibility will fall to them to ensure they are all correctly located. If the information is not readily available, then this can cause a significant problem.
Going digital is a great move but when you consider the problems it can pose in the future it often makes sense to keep paper records of all your accounts and debts. This will make the entire process of managing your estate after you pass away as easy and stress-free as possible.