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Monday, November 11, 2019

Sites for Safeguarding Essential Documents

Everyone should have important documents gathered in one place and accessible by someone they trust.

Everyone should have some basic documents drawn up, filled out and signed, ready for if, or when, they are needed. This is particularly important for older adults, who know their time is shorter and health needs more likely to force a sudden decision than their younger counterparts. While we may not like to face death, it’s going to come. We’re doing ourselves and our loved ones a disservice if we don’t prepare.

Where should we keep those important papers such as medical directives? You could stash them in a fireproof safe, you could keep them in a safe deposit box or you could store copies on the internet. Let’s say you suffer a heart attack. Will anyone be able to get in the safe to find out how you’d like care to proceed? And the same for a safe deposit box … will someone have the key, know your code and where to access papers in time to state whether or not you want to get certain treatments? Probably not. But what about our third alternative, the internet?

Internet apps are getting more sophisticated and are more accessible than physical places that require knowing where and how to get in. It’s a lot easier for someone to keep a note on their phone for the password and location of documents than to remember where a key is and what bank it matches, or to be sure that papers actually got in the safe and where it’s hidden in the house. Let’s take a look at some storage apps and what they can provide.

Six Documents Everyone Needs

Here’s the shortlist of documents every adult needs to prepare and store in an accessible place that a trusted confidant can locate:

  • Durable Power of Attorney: Gives one person the legal right to conduct matters on another’s behalf.
  • Health Care Power of Attorney/Health Care Proxy: Honors your wishes even if you’re incapacitated. 
  • Living Will: Is an advance directive that puts forth your wishes for the end of life.
  • Do Not Intubate, Do Not Resuscitate: Outlines your desires regarding intubation and resuscitation when you can’t speak for yourself.
  • Advance Directives: Present instructions regarding your wishes for medical care at the end of life.
  • Will and/or Trust: Gives detailed written instructions regarding disposition of property and possessions when you die.

  • LifeSite is an online safe deposit box for just one person or the whole family. It works with iOS and Android phones, as well as Amazon Alexa voice assistant. You’ll never have to worry about forgetting an important document; LifeSite securely stores copies of identifications, health documents, passwords, birth certificates and more. 

    If you have to evacuate due to a natural disaster, you won’t need to run around gathering important documents. LifeSite can store copies of a passport, insurance details and more. 

    The app can also coordinate caregiving information, keeping everyone involved on the same page. And it’s perfect for storing durable powers of attorney, medical directives and the like for health care needs. 

    Security involves multiple layers of encryption and data chunking with the industry’s most sophisticated cybersecurity solutions. Your data is locked with your personal, unique key that’s rotated and scrambled. Third-parties conduct audits routinely to check for updates and improvements. 

    LifeSite is free for one user with up to 1 GB of storage and one backup contact. LifeSite Plus is $8.99 per month or $79.99 per year for five collaborators with share and edit privileges, 5 GB of storage, and five backup contacts.
  • Whealthcare is for individuals responsible for managing a family member’s finances and for financial advisors seeking to improve health and aging-focused financial planning capabilities. Co-founded by a physician-turned-financial-planner and a software developer, Whealthcare creates a “financial care taking plan.” During an initial assessment, the tool asks questions and, based on a client’s responses, identifies issues that client may face as they age. 

    A customized to-do list outlines documents, such as health care directives, that need to be in place and stored in the app. This allows trusted people to take over if the client becomes incapacitated. 

    A separate assessment determines whether a client is at risk for fraud, exploitation or just bad decision-making. The app provides suggestions about how to avoid becoming the victim of a scam. 

    Finally, a “proactive aging plan” gets clients thinking about difficult changes long before they might need to make them. This plan allows clients to discuss and document wishes related to their living situation, driving options and health care decisions.  You can also get in touch with a financial advisor who specializes in working with older adults. 

    The yearly charge is $39 for one person, $69 for a couple and $149 for a family plan that includes up to five members.
  • Everplans is a straight-up online vault service that has the added appeal of helping you through what you might want to store and how to do it. Find out what to do with social media sites, and get guidance about insurance policies, funeral arrangements, and pet care contingency plans. The site will also lead you through health documents, wills and the like. If there’s something highly private that you don’t want to upload, but do need someone to find, say, after your death, you can leave instructions on how to find it. 

    You are able to name trusted people and say when they are able to access the site. You may decide your spouse can look whenever needed, but your executor only gets access when you die. 

    An Everplan is available for $75 annually.
  • Dropbox is an app that’s been around since the dinosaurs, in computer terms. Billed as a smart workspace, it’s been used umpteen times to share work documents for remote employees, but it’s just as efficient at storing your important documents, photos and videos. You can import traditional files, cloud content, Dropbox Paper docs and web shortcuts. 

    Dropbox will give you personalized suggestions regarding file and folder organizing, so you spend less time searching for what you need. Dropbox is a great tool for those who know which documents they need and don’t need suggestions or specialized access abilities.< 

    Dropbox is absolutely free.

Click below for the other articles in the November 2019 Senior Spirit

Health – Blood Test for Alzheimer’s up to 94% Accurate


Blog posting provided by Society of Certified Senior Advisors