On Mon, my family joined the 100K ordered to evacuate as Southern California's  Silverado Fire approached. Driving to safety, I couldn't help but think of everything we'd left behind...all our memories - art, books, family albums, heirlooms passed down through four generations...things my wife and I collected and curated during our life together...

Then I remembered - that I'd forgot - to retrieve our estate planning documents. I tried to find comfort in the thought that our Binder was safely inside our office fireproof safe (just for this situation!) - but that didn't help. I knew that I should have prepared a portable, digitized version (which, of course, we do for EVERY TrustCounsel PC client).

Now I was getting worried.... after all, our originals might not survive the heat of the blaze.

Maybe the Binder Would Survive the Fire

Even if the Binder made it through intact, the contents would likely be so charred and difficult to work with that a new set (including original signatures, witnesses, and notarization) would be required for the future.

The Benefit a Digital Estate Plan

If I had made the effort to save a digital version of our plan on my phone, the entire set of documents (password-protected and encrypted) would be available anytime any of those document are needed:

  • Health Care Directive:
    emergency responders or health care providers in an accident
  • Power of Attorney for Asset Management
    or when my wife needs me to take action for her at our local back.
  • Temporary Guardian Nomination
    if our grandchildren get stranded at school

Going Deeper

As I drove from the Fire and towards our daughter's home, my imagination turned to all those wonderful things we cared about in our home - I saw them preserved (and some even transformed into digital artifacts), still valued by our great great grandchildren in their own lives, aware and appreciating that they'd come from us.

My Album Collection Goes First

In my vision, they were celebrating a birthday, and facing a luminescent wall with integrated speakers playing music, displaying images, video, and voice recordings we'd made long ago for this day. Although we obviously could not have been PHYSICALLY present, our great grandchildren were interacting with us on all other levels, as if they had grown up with us, as if we had always been there...(you can imagine how far my mind was wandering).

Build on a Classical Foundation

As the Founder of TrustCounsel PC, I am intimately aware of the events that can disrupt our lives, and the traditional and modern estate planning concepts, structures and drafting techniques available to effectively deal with these events. Our firm is dedicated to supporting our clients and community through a combination of education, advice and services, always with the objective of increasing and protecting the peace, happiness and prosperity possible in strong, healthy families.

Designed for Digital Transformation

No doubt, the future is pulling the legal industry as a whole, and certainly the Estate Planning field - to adopt and change, and to find ways to reduce the difficulties of individuals and families faced with life's challenges.

Examples of this transformation, like digital copies of Powers of Attorney for Asset Management, Advance Health Care Directives, and Temporary Guardianship documents, are becoming more and more common - and there is much more to come.

A Voice for the Future

Imagine a time where multiple forms of wealth - of individuals, families, and whole communities, actually increase in value, through active collection, preservation, and digitization, enriching the lives of not just a single family or generation, but a much wider group over many generations to come.

Early forms of this vision are beginning to appear. Current forms of digital technology allow us to easily capture our thoughts, song, dance, and (if we choose) messages and dialogue directed to those living in the future.

At TrustCounsel PC, we're committed to protecting and preserving the wealth of individuals, families, and communities we serve.  Our practice includes the  design and preparation of Traditional Estate Plans and Modern Plans based on Digital Trusts, with the enhanced security and privacy possible with encryption and verification through distributed blockchain.

Our mission at TrustCounsel PC is to explore and extend the boundaries of this new territory, and along with likeminded advisors, communities, and professional organizations, provide thought leadership, practical examples, and encouragement to move our cultures and legal systems in line with our true potential.

PS - Fortunately for all 100K evacuees, the Silverado Fire did no damage to our homes - and I found my family's Estate Planning Binder, safe and sound, in our safe, just as I'd left it. The entire contents, however, are now fully digitized and conveniently accessible on my phone. This cobbler's family now has shoes.

About David Talley

David Talley is a Business, Estate, and Legacy Planning attorney in Lake Forest, California, and founder of TrustCounsel PC. His passion is applying digital technologies that improve the practice and delivery of legal services. Having worked in-house for Panasonic Eco Solutions HQ in Japan from 2004-2016, David brings deep business experience and a global mindset to every project, and every estate plan, he supports.