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Tech Column: Technology Tools for Estate Planning

Jeffrey M Allen and Ashley Hallene


  • Explore technology tools for effective estate planning using platforms like for uploading and sharing important medical information, employing password managers for securing digital accounts, creating comprehensive lists of online services, preparing an emergency document with essential details, and managing digital legacies for a smooth transition.
  • Regular updates to these plans are advised to maintain accuracy and effectiveness.
Tech Column: Technology Tools for Estate Planning Vladimirov

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It is inevitable that one day your assets will become your estate, and when that time comes one of the best gifts you can make to your loved ones is a well thought out estate plan. There are the basic document tools that go into an estate plan (Power of Attorney, Advanced Directive, Last Will & Testament, etc.) There are also technology tools that can make managing the estate plan easier. For this month’s column we will take a look at some of the tools that are out there to manage your estate plan.

Check out is a free site where you can upload any advance directive, advance care plan, or portable medical order you have and then share it with the people who need to know. You can also easily ensure everyone has access to the latest forms. Doctors and nurses can access the information, you can send links to loved ones, carry a card in your wallet with instructions to access from the site, or even use the app to keep the information on your iPhone lock screen. In a few simple steps you can feel confident your wishes will be followed. 

  1. Record your estate plan documents - they have a feature that allows you to create documents, but we feel that is better left to you or you counsel. 
  2. Identify your healthcare agents – these are the people you would want to represent you if you cannot communicate during a health crisis. MyDirectives will notify your loved ones with an invite and reaffirm their roles from time to time.
  3. Log your thoughts. You can record notes in between medical visits, or record video messages for your file to share with your healthcare professional on your next visit. 
  4. Keep the contact information of everyone in your support network in one convenient location. This feature can be vital in a crisis. 

Use a Password Manager

One inconvenient aspect of all these digital conveniences is the need to protect the digital information with secure and unique passwords. Knowing what a hassle it is to manage and keep track of all your passwords, how would your loved ones do it if you were to become suddenly incapacitated? Can they find the information to access your emails, bank accounts, or social media accounts? Could an appropriate agent access your work emails to address clients? Can someone stop online services from billing your credit card? Who would be authorized to close your accounts on your behalf?

In addition to the documents that go into an estate plan, it is worth putting together a digital estate plan that protects your digital assets but still ensures someone trusted can close your online accounts. One easy plan to set up is an online password manager. Password protection software is an easy solution to set up. Millions of people are already using these online services to protect sensitive information. You can use these systems to store a link to the online service, usernames, passwords, Security security questions and answers, Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and more. Services Llike LastPass, 1password, and SecureSafe, and Keeper are helpful in providing access and peace of mind. 

Furthermore, you can use the apps for these services to access your passwords when you are on the go with your smartphone. 

Keep in mind, the information is stored online or in the cloud. Anytime information is stored online there is some exposure to hackers. Password manager users place their trust in the digital security professionals who work at these companies. The risk of hacking is low, but it is not zero. Also remember, for this system to be useful someone needs to know the master password for the password protection service.  

Make a list

Once you have a system for storing password data, the next step is to make a list of each service that requires access information. This list will include: 

  1. Secured hardware devices (Computers, Cellphones, Tablets, etc.)
  2. Email Accounts
  3. Financial Accounts
  4. Credit Cards (Personal and Professional)
  5. Online Service Providers (Cloud storage for client files, photo storage, computer backup services, etc.)
  6. Account Managers and their contact information
  7. Locations for safe deposit boxes, physical safes, etc. 

Set up an In Case of Emergency Document

One of the author’s (Ashley’s) parents are heading out of the country this week for a destination wedding. Part of their preparation for the trip included putting together a document in case of emergency and providing said document to both Ashley and her sister. Once you go through the process of creating the document, the hard part is over, all you need to do is update it from time to time. The document should include: 

  1. Important contacts (name, address, email address and phone number)
    1. Family members
    2. Friends
    3. Employers/Employees
  2.  List out any allergies or health conditions
  3. List medications you take regularly
  4. Location of important documents like birth certificates, passports, wills, etc. 
  5. Financial Information

Manage your Digital Legacy

Many people have a significant digital footprint online, so it is a good idea to plan for managing (or deleting) these accounts when you are gone. Some of your online services may have a system in place. For example, Google lets users name an “inactive account manager” who is granted access to your account if it goes a designated period without use. Google gives you the option of a 3-, 6-, 12-, or 18-month waiting period, after which your account will automatically be turned over to the designated person. 

Several Password management Services have a similar digital legacy feature. For example, 1Password has users create their emergency toolkit when they sign up. The kit provides the information needed to access the account. It can be printed out or placed on a USB drive and stored in a safe or at a lawyer's office.

None of this advice will stop something bad from happening, but it may prevent a bad situation from being even worse by giving your loved ones the tools they need to navigate the crisis.