Why we all need a digital death file
Are you the one who deals with the finances in the home? Would your loved ones know where to look if something were to happen to you?
Traditionally, writing a will would be the crucial difference between having your final wishes granted when it comes to the distribution of your assets after death. But is it enough in the new digital world?
We, like most of the world, rely on technology. It connects us to friends, fulfils our shopping needs and most importantly it gives us access to our financial accounts and all manner of private and confidential documents. Gone are the days when a loved one passes that you’re searching through the cabinet to find old statements and building society savings books. Now, with what appears to be an ever increasing number of people online, it’s a virtual search you need to undertake. So how do you store your documents? In a separately labelled email folder? On your hard drive? Maybe you saved them to the cloud in an online filing system? However they are saved, the question is are they easily accessible when you pass away?
According to Statista, a global statistic gathering company, more than 90% of adults in the UK used online banking in 2022, for the combination of speed, convenience and ease of use. With the rise of a cashless payment system, it really does show how the digital world has taken over in recent years.
What is the TPO digital filing cabinet?
All clients of The Private Office have access, at no additional cost, to our online portal, TPO Wealth. Here, you can store all personal documents in a safe and secure space. Where this portal is useful is, with your consent, we are able to grant access to your accountants and solicitors to access your relevant information, such as tax folders and other personal documents to make it a seamless and effortless experience for you. This can be particularly useful for the self-employed.
As of March 2022, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) states there are a grand total of 4.2 million people who are self-employed – that’s 13% of the working population! Most self-employed people operate with an accountant to help with filing tax returns and completing their annual accounts. However, this all requires paperwork which needs to be kept on top of, so it’s important to collate all of this into one easy-to-use and secure place.
Navigating the death of a loved one is one of life’s biggest challenges, without the additional complexity of trying to track down and locate all the relevant documents to manage their estate. While you are able to name a ‘digital executor’ within your will, unfortunately that doesn’t mean consolidation of all your personal and important documents.
Here’s a list of some of the types of things our clients share on TPO Wealth, both for personal filing and to share with their other professional contacts:
- Tax Information
- In Case of Emergency
- Invoices and fees
- Details of professional contacts
- Insurance details
With TPO Wealth, your loved ones can reach out to your adviser and know everything is stored in one place, which many of our clients have found to be a great help at a difficult time.
What about if you become incapacitated?
Aside from the death of a loved one, there are other instances where information may be required, such as critical illness or incapacity. With the average time for a Lasting Power of Attorney (LPA) to be processed and granted in the UK taking between 20-21 weeks, according to Clare Fuller of Compassion in Dying, searching through paper filing or numerous accounts could be the difference between your loved ones being able to afford your care or not. This increases the need for your loved ones to be able to access your finances almost instantly and seamlessly.
The added value comes where your adviser can reach out to your accountants and solicitors on your behalf as well as granting loved ones access to your TPO Wealth account and accounts within Power of Attorney (POA) rights.
TPO Wealth doesn’t stop at just secure storage of important files, you can view all your investments and savings accounts too. It has a built-in property calculator where you can estimate the value of your main residence and any other properties, as well as being able to track the value of your net worth. You are able to securely message your adviser and provide any necessary signatures through the portal.
The flexibility in making the portal what you need is the benefit. Storing any file you wish on the portal could make it the one-stop-shop you need for a secure filing system of non-financial related files as well!
This article is intended for general information only, it does not constitute individual advice and should not be used to inform financial decisions.
TPO Wealth is only available to clients of The Private Office.
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) does not regulate estate planning or tax advice.