GoodTrust is a relatively new digital estate planning service which has quickly become a top service in the field. The company was started by Rikard Steiber and like many digital estate planning services was created based on a personal experience that ignited a passion to create something to help people in a market segment that hasn’t gotten enough attention and sorely needs it.
I recently created an account to test all the features that GoodTrust offered. Right away I was impressed with the attention to detail in their design and user interface that made setting up my account and navigating all areas a pleasure. It’s clear they put a great deal of thought into guiding users down a clear path for setting up each section of their account.
Your Dashboard is ground control and will show you a list of remaining tasks as you progress through each step of setting up your account.
Sites & Social
Here you add sites and provide details for your wishes regarding them once you die. They provide several pre-determined categories such as social media, financial and photo sites to name a few. Adding sites for each category is as simple as selecting them from a very large pre-defined list they provide and you can add your own as well.
From there you select what action should take place for the selected site once you die. You have several options that include to delete, memorialize, extract data and several others. You can also select “special request” and add specific details as well. You then choose which of your deputies (more on this later) to share these instructions with for each site. With a premium account (details below) you can even create a final post to be published on the site when you die. As I currently test this feature there is a “Password” field with a coming soon message which will presumably let you store the password as well. We’ll have to wait and see how this is executed, but it may be tricky to keep up to date if you use a third party password manager so you should keep that in mind.
Docs & Notes
In this section you can upload your most important documents assigned to specific categories. Some of these document categories have been pre-defined such as life insurance, will and contracts but you also have the ability to upload your own and assign them a category as well. Individual documents can configured to be retrieved by specific people you designate upon your death.
Memories is a new feature that while not specific to digital legacy preparedness offers a very exciting way to bring life to old photographs using AI animation technology. I saw the demonstration animations and was skeptical as to how well it would work. However, I uploaded an old baby image of mine as was very surprised. You can see the impressive results below.
Devices is a section where you provide details about various devices you own and how they can be accessed. The devices would include your phone, computer as well as smart devices you have for the home. The access information is primarily granted using a passcode but they do provide an additional details section where you can add things such as two factor authentication (2FA) apps, security keys or methods used to access devices. Like other data, you can choose the specific people you want to share these details with as well.
Future Messages adds the ability to allow you to record written or video recorded messages that could be submitted to social media sites, sent as emails, or provided using another method upon your death. This is a premium feature which will require you to upgrade to a paid account.
Will & Directives is a paid feature that lets you add your funeral directive. It also will soon allow you to add your will and medical directive as well. The funeral directive section is essentially a guided form asking you all pertinent questions. Here you provide specific wishes around how your death announcement will be made, what your wishes are regarding your body and specifics around your funeral and memorial.
Deputies are people you designate for having the ability to access some or all of the data you add to the service. You have controls for allowing specific items within each category to allow different deputies to be designated to access the data. This could allow for your spouse or partner to be designated for financial accounts while your children could be designated to help with social media accounts. Contacts are invited by email and need to create a free deputy account. Once they complete that they will be able to access any information you assigned to them for immediate viewing, or only items they can access after you die.
Triggering Deputies to Access Data
The service has implemented functionality they call Dead man’s switch which triggers several events to occur for your data once you have died. This is done by sending you emails at specific intervals to check-in with you. When they don’t receive a response within your designated timeframe, they trigger these events which will notify your deputies of the documents you’ve shared with them so they can begin executing wishes upon your behalf. At this time your pre-recorded email and video messages will be sent out as well.
For Loved Ones
While most of the features I’ve covered so far are for someone to personally prepare their data and wishes, GoodTrust also offers services for people who have loved ones that haven’t. This section is setup for families that find themselves in this situation offers help navigating the process to execute specific wishes directly with a service. You would provide the specific actions you want taken and the GoodTrust team would then guide you through the proper documents needed, and act on your behalf communicating with the service. The thing to note here is these are specialized services that are not part of the standard monthly service and carry their own costs depending on the type of help required.
In addition they also offer a service that allows you to Book an expert where you can schedule a call if you have questions to discuss specific needs and how they could help. This is a nice added feature where using the automated features of the service may not be enough and you want to speak with someone about your circumstances.
Free vs. Premium
The free version of the service is a great way to dip your toes and start your planning along with learning about all the features GoodTrust provides. The premium features will cost you $5.99 per month and are geared towards expanding on the limited number of items you can store. Additionally the future messages with videos is a nice feature only available with premium. Creating a will (coming soon) along with the funeral and medical directives are important features you will also gain access to which is a great addition if you don’t already have them as part of an existing living will. If you are unsure whether the added features are worth it, you can try the premium version free for 30 days.
GoodTrust does a great job ticking all the boxes helping you be pro-active around your digital data for loved ones as part of your estate planning. It also does this using a beautiful design and experience clearly guiding you through each step. If the automated features aren’t enough they even offer consulting by phone to truly be a full service provider. The free version will provide you the ability to try out the service and determine if it’s right for you. You can then easily upgrade to the paid version later and gain access to additional features.