When it comes to your Personal Private Information Profile, aka your PPIP, it is vital to keep your information updated and secure.
A PPIP is an organized document that contains a person’s information that their families and loved ones will require after their passing or incapacitation. We believe this is one of the five (5) most important documents that every person needs, and we have provided a free guide on our website.
Let’s talk about the two different ways you can store your profile – physically or digitally.
Paper documents aren’t always the best choice as they require a secure place for storage and can be costly and time consuming to maintain. First let’s talk about where to store the documents, and then about the documents themselves.
You can be as creative as you want in identifying a place to store your sensitive documents. Regardless of where you store your documents, you should consider these four threats to your documents’ security and longevity: fire, water, mold and theft. To overcome those four threats many people invest in purchasing a quality safe that is fireproof, mold-proof, waterproof, and theft-proof (weighty and or anchored to something which cannot be detached). While safes can cost as low as $20, to get all of these features, you are probably looking at $200 and up. We have found good safes in the $200 range that are more than adequate.
How about producing the documents to be stored? For storing paper documents, consider the quality of the paper and ink you use. Time can warp the contents if you use inexpensive supplies.
Another way of storing your documents is to store them on a digital device, such as a flash drive, and then safely store the digital device in a physical location. Again if safely stored, the threats of fire, mold, water and theft are eliminated, and the documents themselves are preserved digitally.
But physical documents or hard copies do offer a few advantages that aren’t immediately apparent such as preserving authenticity. Wills and Powers of Attorneys for example often need to be originals. Digital signatures may not suffice legally. Additionally, when you are ready to destroy your hard copies, destruction is final and guaranteed by securely shredding them. Unlike documents that have been “deleted” from digital devices, the “deleted” data can often be retrieved.
Hard copies (physical) documents have greater longevity than documents that are stored on digital media. Remember, many popular of digital storage devices have already become obsolete – floppy discs, cassette tapes, microfilm, etc. Even CDs are almost obsolete as a storage device. Retrieving the data from those devices may become problematic if not impossible. Stored properly, paper documents can have an extensive shelf life and are easy to retrieve.
Most people recognize the advantages offered by digital documents, such as the ease of editing and the ability to assign authorized users to access them. Using online digital services are also cost-efficient, since you will not need to purchase a safe or worry about the cost of printing supplies.
However, using cloud storage services like Google Drive and Dropbox have their disadvantages. For older adults, the process of sharing digital documents rather than handing someone sheets of paper may be too complex to understand. Additionally, most cloud services require internet access to function correctly. If your Internet connection is terminated, disconnected, or you have poor reception, you may be unable to access your digital documents when you need them the most. Finally, if the service provider terminates your service for any reason, or if you lose your password, you may be forever disconnected from your digital documents.
Storing your documents physically or digitally have pros and cons. The decision is ultimately yours based on what works best for you. Just remember, whatever your choice, make sure you keep your documents updated and secured!
*This article is provided as educational information, not legal advice. Our law firm makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in this article. The distribution or acceptance of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship with our law firm.