Virtual Legacy Planning

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Delivering Tangible Value to Estate Planning Clients

The value of estate planning is largely intangible. After investing time and money in drafting healthcare directives and a comprehensive estate plan, clients don’t walk away with a brand new car or fancy diamond ring. Sadly, most clients never fully recognize the value of an experienced attorney’s advice or the impact of properly-crafted estate plans until they fall ill or experience the passing of a loved one. Many firms spend a great deal of time trying to educate clients, and the public, about the intangible benefits while others try to deliver some tangible value by providing their clients with a branded binder with the signed documents or, for the tech-savvy, a CD with the estate plan so clients can view and save the completed materials electronically.

In addition to professionally packaged estate planning documents, attorneys can also deliver a tangible benefit by offering a service like LegalVault through which clients can store all of their most important legal documents, virtual passwords and healthcare directives. Once a client is enrolled in LegalVault, he or she will receive an Emergency Access Wallet Card which allows healthcare providers to access the client’s advance directives 24/7/365.  This card, which contains emergency medical information like allergies, contact information, etc, features your firm’s branding so clients are reminded of the great value you offer every time they open their wallets.

With a simple online enrollment process, your firm has ultimate flexibility when it comes to setting up a new account and uploading estate planning documents.  Many firms we work with include the enrollment form as part of their intake forms, allowing them to get an account set up right after the initial consultation with the client. With the fastest turnaround time across the industry, firms receive the wallet cards in just a few days, allowing them to have this nice takeaway in time for the signing ceremony. In addition to leaving with their completed documents, clients walk away from the estate planning process with their LegalVault account information and peace of mind knowing that with this investment in the future, their wishes will be honored during their lifetime and beyond.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Post Mortem Access to Spare Your Loved Ones from a Document Treasure Hunt

It’s an all too common scenario: a loved one passes away rather unexpectedly and the family is left to pick up the pieces. For many families, a time of mourning becomes a time of research and hunting as relatives try to locate important documents, instructions and account information. In the weeks ahead, credit card accounts will need to be closed, cell phone lines deactivated, assets transferred and virtual accounts dismantled. In an effort to help individuals ensure that their loved ones do not have to go on a document treasure-hunt, LegalVault is proud to offer post-mortem access for all accounts.

Accounts holders have the option to add as many friends and relatives to their “Post-mortem Access List.” Upon the death of the account holder, the sponsoring law firm will provide these individuals with all of the documents and information that had been stored in the account. login credentials for each individual listed.  It’s important to note that post-mortem access does not allow friends and relatives to remove documents, or edit information, but instead just view the information which had been virtually stored.

By having all of your most important documents stored securely in one central location, you can breathe easier knowing that your loved ones won’t spend the days after your death fretting over the location of your important documents and can instead spend time celebrating your life.

Friday, December 30, 2011

LegalVault Perspectives

We are often asked why LegalVault is needed. We could go on for hours detailing the necessity of keeping all documents in one secure central location but instead we’ve decided to present the perspectives of several firms that offer this great service to their clients. These pieces explain a few of the great benefits of secure document storage with LegalVault:

  • Attorney Jennifer Deland discusses the benefits of storing your documents online in the event that an emergency should strike. In a blog post entitled “What You Should Take with You When There’s a Fire or Flood”, she details best practices and safeguards that every family should have in place.
  • The Law Office of Richard C. Pertofsky highlights the need for document storage for same-sex couples in an age of volatile marriage laws in a blog post entitled, “Document Storage for LGBT’s”.
  • Attorney Peter Lennington discusses the need for advance healthcare directives and where they should be stored in a podcast entitled, “Health Care Directives - What are They?  And Why I Might Need One”. This audio file is one in a series discussing Incapacity Planning.
  • In a blog post entitled “Your Cyber Legacy”, attorney Kyle Krasa describes the need to protect your online legacy and securely store access information for loved ones.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Virtual Legacy Planning: It’s not an option, it’s a necessity

After one’s passing, the family generally starts the difficult, and time consuming, process of cleaning up and sorting the personal belongings of the deceased. Much of this time is spent organizing and remembering this person’s life, but it is also a time of discovery.  Bank statements are found, old photos collected and letters to relatives uncovered. All of these items serve to assist with the distribution of remaining assets and also enhance the preservation of one’s legacy. But what if all of these items are stored online? With the growing popularity of email correspondence, online banking, social media sites, online trading, photo-sharing sites, online bill-pay and blogs, this is increasingly the case.

So what happens to all of these accounts when you die? Well it really depends. Some internet sites have provisions in place that allow a relative to gain access once they present the appropriate documentation while others prohibit (or make it virtually impossible) for loved ones to take control of the account. In these cases valuable information pertaining to your assets and legacy are lost.

As estate planning attorneys, you seek to protect your client’s wealth, property and legacy for generations to follow. With many of these items now stored online, it is imperative that this information be included in every estate plan you create. Many attorneys simply request that each client provide them with a list of online accounts  and placed this document in the client’s folder  but this method is far from secure and can easily become outdated.

LegalVault provides a secure method of storing online account information for your clients to ensure that their virtual legacies are properly cared for. With the ability to add an unlimited number of accounts including the URL of the login page, username and password, clients can have peace of mind knowing that the individuals they designate will have access to vital information, photos and emails after their passing. In the event that a new online account is created or a password changed, a client can log right into his or her account to make sure this information is updated right away. Long gone are the days of storing bank statements, love-letters and photos  in a shoebox under the bed but that doesn’t mean that these details and mementos can’t be properly preserved and cherished by those left behind—only now its online.

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