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Digital estate planning can be problematic in California

The problem of locating a recently deceased loved one's estate planning documents is a significant issue for many beneficiaries in California. Some people report spending many years locating all of a decedent's various investments and assets. This is why some technology startups have opened up shop looking to provide consumers with ways to digitally store estate planning documents to make it easier for intended beneficiaries.

Although this may seem like an attractive option for some, others are viewing the new phenomenon with skepticism. Much of the criticism revolves around the fact that the niche industry is relatively new and that service providers are usually smaller startup companies. This can be a problem if a smaller startup technology company is bought out by a larger corporation. Customers may have to be burdened with switching over to a new system or possibly somehow losing digital documents in the process.

This is what happened with the startup company Take Estate Assist. The company was recently bought out by a larger company. The company gave customers a 30-day warning for downloading their digital documents. Another problem could occur when a technology startup has to close its doors due to not being able to maintain profitability in a new niche market.

However, whether or not digital estate planning services are right for an individual will depend upon that specific person. Some people are more comfortable with new technology, while others may not be so familiar with computers and the Internet. Also, which estate planning documents should be created will depend upon one's particular estate planning goals. Therefore, each estate plan, whether digital or not, should be customized to fit individual needs in California.

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

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