Laws that address how a person’s estate should be divided after their death were created at a time when no one had anticipated the onset of the electronic era. Today, however, there are many important elements of a person’s life that involve digital files. Some of the most common examples include electronic bills that are not printed in paper form and profiles created through social media accounts that contain personal information.
It is critical that individuals who have important information that exists in digital form take proper steps to prepare their account in case of their unexpected demise. If these preparatory steps are not taken, individuals are at risk of having their assets or estate being divided in a manner that they might not have desires. This article will review some of the most crucial tips that should be followed during estate planning by individuals with digital assets.
Tip #1 – Adequately Record Account Names and Passwords
It is important that individuals document their identification logins and passwords. In some cases, if a person dies without providing others with this information, it will be impossible to log into that person’s electronic device or account.
Tip # 2 – Construct a Digital Asset Plan
A digital asset plan should contain a specific statement about who can access that individual’s digital information, which should encompass all accounts.
Tip # 3 – Create a Location Online to Store Personal Information
In addition to recording login identifications and passwords by hand, a person should also create a place online where their identification information can be obtained. This “online vault” is helpful in case a person dies unexpectedly and the written information cannot be located. Dropbox and Everplans are just two online vaults that allow individuals to obtain digital estate planning document, insurance planning documents, and other important pieces of paperwork.
Tip #4 – Inventory Digital Assets
It is important for individuals to make a list of any assets or business documents that they have. This information should any client files, databases, digital records, or other types of documents that an individual might have.
Tip # 5 – Nominate an Executor or Representative
It can sometimes be very difficult to decide who a person should nominate as an executor or representative. It is important to name these individuals to make sure that a
person’s digital account is properly maintained following their death. This person should be someone that an individual can trust with their accounts in case they die or become incapacitated. It is often a wise idea to grant a limited and specific grant of power to this executor to prevent any invasive searches of a person’s digital files.
Tip # 6 – Use a Password Manager
Password managers let an individual share information with their executor. An appointed individual only needs to have one person to discover information about the various sites that the deceased or incapacitated individual logs into on a daily basis.