In the news this week were a variety of stories about the settlement reached with Equifax after they were hacked. The data breach was announced in September 2017. As part of the settlement, $425 million was set aside to help people who were affected by the breach. If you aren’t sure if you were affected, you can check here. Members of the settlement can file a claim for a variety of remedies.

2019 has been filled with plenty of announcements of data being hacked. The “Collection #1” data breach announced in January affected more than 772 million email addresses!

What if Legal Zoom Gets Hacked

With all of our personal information being hacked and accessed far too routinely, I began thinking about what could happen if that website you used to create your will is hacked. (I am not saying they will get hacked, but if you use one of those websites, it should be a concern…) If you really dig in deep and do a full estate plan, you could have a lot of data exposed:

  • Your Name and Address
  • Your Social Security Number
  • Your family’s names, addresses and telephone numbers
  • Your family’s birthdates and important anniversaries
  • Your financial information (including a list of where to find your assets!)

Depending on what provisions are in your documents, there could be other very sensitive information left on a website’s servers. You may be done with your will, it’s all signed and put in a safe place (NOT IN A SAFE DEPOSIT BOX!!!). But what happens to all that information you uploaded to the website? Is it left on there? What is the website’s data protection policy? Does it destroy the data after a certain amount of time?

There are no guarantees that your information won’t be hacked. No matter where it is stored, there is probably someone out there who would try to get access to it. Before you upload all that sensitive information to a website that will simply insert your information into a generic form, think about what you are putting at risk.

Next Steps

Now is a good time to look at how you are storing your important information. If you’d like a copy of the My Personal Planning Essentials checklist used by my clients with their estate plan envelopes, click here and I’ll be glad to share a .pdf with you.

Andrew Ayers
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I work with business and estate planning clients to craft legal solutions to protect their legacies.