In this increasingly digital world, it’s important to consider your digital assets when planning your estate. Any types of accounts you have, websites you own or other possessions that exist in the digital realm could all become items of some value in your estate plan.
With this in mind, here is some information from an attorney in Phoenix, AZ to help you protect those digital assets and ensure their value remains in your family and that they’re passed along to your beneficiaries.
Keep tabs on all your accounts
Somewhere in a secure location you should keep a running list of all your online accounts, usernames and passwords. If you pass away, it’s important for someone else (ideally your estate executor) to be able to access all these accounts. Otherwise, they probably wouldn’t even know what accounts you have, let alone how to log into them.
You can store this information in a physical document with your estate plan, or you can use some digital estate planning tools that make it easy for you to store this information in a secure manner on your computer or on the cloud. You can also use an external hard drive, if you don’t like the idea of storing that information on the cloud with a third-party company, or even directly on your computer.
Keeping track of your passwords can be difficult when you have so many online accounts. Knowing this, tech companies have developed a variety of password management tools that store all your usernames and passwords, and then give you a master password that allows you to access all of your digital assets. Many of these password managers alert you if your account is susceptible to malicious attacks due to a data breach. Giving your executor access to your password manager is a good way to ensure your digital assets are attended to after your death.
Leave behind instructions
If you’d rather use a more low-tech way of leaving behind information about your accounts, you can include a letter of instruction with your will or trust that details the digital assets you have and how your heirs can access them. While this letter might not legally give them access to the accounts, it will at least be beneficial in that it will give them the basic information they need to log in and inform the companies with whom you have accounts of your death so those assets can be legally transferred.
Ultimately, the digital assets you have in your possession are likely more valuable than you think, and even those that don’t have significant financial value could very well have some emotional or sentimental value, such as social media accounts or accounts on message boards and web forums. For more information about how you can account for these digital assets in your estate plan, we encourage you to contact an attorney in Phoenix, AZ. Reach out to Lyman Law Office with any questions you have or to schedule a consultation with our team.
Categorized in: Estate Planning