Privacy and your estate plan

/ January 19, 2015

Real estate conceptThe British government announced recently that 4 million historical wills have been digitized and are now available for download by the public. As in the United States, these documents were previously available by traveling to the probate court and searching the available public records. Now anyone with an internet connection and a credit card can search and download a copy of a will (including that of Charles Dickens, Alan Turing, and more).

I have to wonder if, as the barrier to obtaining public records lessens, perhaps privacy will become more of a concern for those drafting estate plans. Even if the other reasons for creating a revocable trust and avoiding the probate process do not apply, maybe the appeal of keeping assets and distribution provisions private will give increasingly sufficient cause for going the extra mile and setting up a trust. This is yet another example of “information planning” as an increasingly important component of estate planning in the digital era.