It is important to share a great deal of information (medical history, current medication, etc.) and documents (Healthcare Power of Attorney) with family members. Information can be shared orally (tell someone); in writing (write it down and give someone the written document); in an oral recording (a voice recording); or in a digital document (text or email). Oral tends to be recalled less accurately, and for a shorter period of time. Writings are more permanent and certain.
Documents are records that can be handwritten, machine printed, magnetically printed, digitally printed, printed by means of other media, or recorded images or sounds. Documents can be shared by physical delivery of the document to another person, as by handing a written paper to someone. Documents can be delivered by mail. Documents can be delivered electronically (texts; email). Documents can also be delivered by “hanging” the document in the “cloud” and giving others access to that document.
At the Grundy law firm, we deliver documents by hard copy (hand delivery or U.S. mail); electronically (by email); and by giving access to documents in the cloud. By way of illustration only, I will discuss two types of documents I have shared.
Healthcare Power of Attorney
For clients with healthcare powers of attorney and who allow us to do so, we will scan a client’s healthcare power of attorney document to a “portable document format” (“.pdf”) file, save that file to the client’s electronic file on our server, and then email that .pdf file to the client. The client may then share that electronic document with whoever the client chooses; can print the document; can save the document. Unless the client has the proper Adobe software, however, the client cannot manipulate or change the document. What the client receives from my office is, in effect, an electronic photocopy of the of the original document.
I have tens, maybe hundreds, of passwords. I cannot keep them straight, so I have created a Google doc called, “Passwords.” There are people in my life who I trust enough that I have given them access, through Google, to that document. They do not have the right to edit this Google doc, but they can access it and look at it. That way if I am ill or if one of these people needs access to one of my password protected accounts, they can access the account by obtaining my password through the Google doc.
Similarly, you can either create documents and email them to people who need access to the information, or you can create a Google doc and grant access to the doc to people you trust. Both are excellent ways to share information quickly and safely.