The growth of the importance of the digital world is bringing a new challenge to estate planning as the difficulty of retrieving information if a password is forgotten can become an impossible task for an estate executor.
As we move closer and closer to a paperless society both financial and personal business is often digital and can create difficulties for those left behind trying to straighten our affairs after a loved one passes.
The New York Times has published an article “Plan Your Digital Legacy, and Update Often,” which points out that executors and heirs can no longer simply walk through our homes and see what property we own.
Instead much of our property can now be stored digitally, including pictures, movies, music and even valuable domain names. We might also own digital currency and conduct our business and financial affairs online.
For executors and heirs to have access to these digital items, they often need to know where to look for them and what the passwords are to access them.
The best way around this dilemma is to plan ahead and to organize your digital assets in a way that makes them easy to access after you pass away. You can create a list of all the accounts you own and use a password manager to store the passwords.
The master password can then be stored in a safe or with an attorney (or both) so it can be made available to your estate’s executor. You can also use online storage services to make important files, such as family photos and movies, easy to access after you pass away.
Consult with an estate planning attorney to make your digital assets part of your estate plan. At Heritage, our attorneys work specifically on estate planning and are focused on meeting your goals. To learn more about our process and becoming a client, attend one of our free workshops.
Reference: New York Times (Nov. 11, 2015) “Plan Your Digital Legacy, and Update Often”