15 Mar Ever Had Everything Deleted?
What would happen if all of your accounts were wiped away or hacked into?
What if everything was deleted?
Unfortunately, this is what happens when digital assets are not documented, organized, and included in your estate plan.
Your digital assets hold value, so they need to be protected. Creating a plan can be customized for the individual. Based on my experience, I would suggest the following steps for preparation:
- Take an inventory – Make a list of all accounts. This includes subscriptions, financial accounts, and memberships. This can be done with a simple excel spreadsheet or a management software program. Keep the list secure.
- Appoint a “trustee” – Since you will need to keep this information secure, and maybe even password-protected, chose someone you trust with the access to the accounts. Choose friend or family member that is reliable and responsible. You may even consider choosing two different people with separate parts of the list. One person may be best for particular accounts. Another option is to provide information that only helps them find the list in the event it becomes necessary.
- Consider the challenges of accessing the accounts – A client told me her list is kept in a safety deposit box. Keep in mind, the box may remain unlocked after your passing until the executor is able to gain access by petitioning the bank. Consider an online service for storing passwords. Even the most secure systems can be vulnerable to hacking, so be cautious. My clients have used programs such as Assetlock, PasswordBox, and SecureSafe.
- Include instructions in your will – The management of digital assets is just now starting to become more popular in the estate-planning community. Executors or Trustees should be provided with instructions on how to access passwords and lists. If you have discussed these items with your financial advisor, it is very important to also work with your estate-planning attorneys to ensure a smooth process.
- Include instructions in your will or Trust – The management of digital assets is just now starting to become more popular in the estate-planning community. Executors or Trustees should be provided with instructions on how to access passwords and lists.
Call us for a free consultation to better understand the laws involving digital assets, especially due to the various laws that differ from state to state.