shared-access-and-estate-planning

3 minute read

Shared Access - The Benefits of Sharing Your Estate Planning Documents

Do your loved ones have access to your Estate Plan? Learn why shared access is helpful at Trust & Will.

The importance of an Estate Plan cannot be understated. It contains healthcare decisions, funeral plans, financial details, and important information for family members. The process of creating an Estate Plan is relatively straightforward, and it will save your loved ones time and stress in the future. That being said, there is one more step you need to take after completing the appropriate documents: sharing them. 

It is crucial that you tell someone where your Estate Planning documents are located, especially when it comes to your Healthcare Directive. Loved ones need to know these documents exist so they can follow your wishes accordingly. But, Estate Plans contain sensitive information -- so how exactly do you share them and with whom? Keep reading to learn about the benefits of sharing your Estate Plan and how to complete this process today:

Why Do You Need To Share Your Estate Plan?

You should consider sharing your Estate Plan with a loved one to ensure they know what to do should anything happen to you. If you are married, you likely created an Estate Plan with your spouse. It is common practice to make sure your attorney and children have access to these documents, or in some cases a physical copy. That way if anything were to happen to either of you, these individuals would know what to do. 

Most Estate Plans contain a Healthcare Directive and Power of Attorney. These documents specify medical preferences and appoint someone in charge of your care, should you become unable to make decisions independently. By sharing your Estate Plan with a loved one, they can more easily access these documents and begin acting according to your wishes. Time is crucial when making medical decisions, which is why it’s important to think ahead and give your Estate Plan to the right people.

Who Should Know About Your Estate Plan?

Typically you should alert your family members, financial advisor, attorney, wealth managers, beneficiaries, and close loved ones when you create an Estate Plan. However, you do not necessarily need to provide each of these individuals with a copy of your Estate Planning documents. As you know your Estate Plan contains detailed and sensitive information, often about financial accounts and assets. For this reason, people opt to share their Estate Planning documents with one or two immediate family members as well as an attorney. Consider the benefits of doing so before you decide who to share these documents with. 

Benefits Of Sharing Access To Your Estate Plan

Shared access is likely not the first thing on your mind when creating an Estate Plan, but there are numerous benefits in doing so once you have completed the documents. Providing your Estate Plan to the right individuals can give you (and them) peace of mind about your end of life care and wishes. Here are some of the numerous reasons you may want to consider sharing your Estate Plan with others: 

  • Reduce Stress During An Emergency: Losing a loved one causes a lot of emotional distress, especially if the death was unexpected. Providing your Estate Planning documents to loved ones before anything unexpected happens can reduce their overall stress in these situations. These documents will help guide them through your end-of-life wishes, such as funeral plans or financial affairs. 

  • Avoid Lengthy Probate Process: Probate is the state-supervised process of dividing up an Estate after one’s death. Giving your loved ones access to your Estate Plan can help them avoid lengthy probate proceedings and minimize any potential fees your Estate will be responsible for. With access to these documents, your loved ones can immediately begin managing your Estate.

  • Medical Decisions Can Be Made Faster: Unfortunately, situations can arise that make it difficult or impossible to make medical decisions independently. In the event you ever become incapacitated, your Estate Plan will guarantee that your wishes are being followed. By sharing these documents with a loved one ahead of time, you can ensure that no time is wasted when it comes to securing the best medical care.

  • Ease Into Difficult Conversations: Death is difficult to talk about with loved ones, and it is often an upsetting or uncomfortable subject. Setting aside time to share your Estate Plan can provide an opportunity to ease into these topics. While it may still be difficult, this can open the door to challenging but unnecessary conversations with your closest loved ones. 

  • Delegate Responsibility To The Right Person: Most people opt to share their Estate Plan with the person they name as Power of Attorney. This is often the best way to inform them of your end of life wishes; it also allows them to act immediately when the time comes. By providing access to your Estate Plan, you can make sure to put the right person in charge of your affairs. 

How To Share Your Estate Planning Documents

There are a few different ways you can share your Estate Planning documents. The two most important things to keep in mind as you consider the options are convenience and security. It is crucial that your loved ones are able to access your Estate Plan with ease, as they may need to view these documents quickly or during an emotionally challenging time. It is also important to ensure your documents are taken care of and your privacy is protected. Because Estate Plans often contain financial details, most people prefer not to have any extra copies made. 

With these concerns in mind, it is becoming increasingly popular to view and store important documents online. For example, at Trust & Will you can share access to your Estate Plan directly from your phone. Your loved ones will then be able to access these documents whenever it becomes necessary. By sharing your Estate Plan through our platform, you can provide your loved ones with easy and secure online access. You can also ensure that these documents are only viewed when necessary, and revoke shared access at any time (for example, if your attorney changes over time). 

Shared Access with Trust & Will

After taking the time to write an Estate Plan -- make sure you don’t forget to share it with the appropriate people. With the help of our platform sharing the completed documents is as easy as sending a link to a loved one. Your spouse, attorney, and any other loved ones will be able to use this information to properly manage your medical care and financial affairs. Not only will this help reduce their overall stress, but it can also help you preserve your legacy and protect those you care about. Is there a question here we didn’t answer? Reach out to us today or Chat with a live member support representative! 

Are you interested in learning more about how to share access to your Estate Plan? Reach out today to learn more.

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