Incorporating New Digital Technology into Your Estate Planning

A recent survey revealed that up to 63% of people don’t know what happens to their digital or online assets after they pass away. Whether it’s iCloud, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or any other online application, experienced and knowledgeable estate planning advice goes a long way into the digital and advanced technology as of now.

Many people employ a number of different types of digital assets, whether it’s an online retail account, a website or a blog, music sites, retailer apps and more. In most of these cases people will need your password or username information to log in and carry out any of your wishes.

Make sure that you have a secure inventory of these digital assets and a way for your loved ones to be able to access this information if something were to suddenly happen to you. You also need to realize that specific rules may apply with service agreements and digital executors, that make these tools unique. Online tools, for example, may be affected by the revised uniform fiduciary access to Digital Assets Act of 2015. This allows someone to determine the ultimate disposition of a digital asset.

Google’s inactive account manager will automatically alert someone if their account remains unused for a set period of time. Failing to respond to the alert in a timely fashion allows Google to notify a family member or a friend or the person you have named as your digital executor to confirm your death prior to carrying out instructions.

If you have digital assets- and you probably do- make sure you review the application’s terms of service. In addition to safely storing your own passwords somewhere, you might want to figure out if there are any website-specific rules you need to follow to allow someone else into your account after you pass away.

Do you need more information on what you should do with personal property, including digital media? Contact a Massachusetts estate planning lawyer for more information.

 

Where do tweets go when you die?

When you pass away, you might leave behind online files at a number of different online sites. A recent article provides some advice on how to include these online assets in your comprehensive estate plan.

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(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Many companies with online accounts have set policy on what to do when their users die. Facebook will delete your profile at your loved ones’ request, or allow them to maintain the profile as a memorial. Yahoo and Instagram will delete your profile if your loved ones provide proof of death. However, they will not provide your loved ones with your password. Twitter will provide your loved ones with a copy of all your tweets. Google allows users to choose up to 10 people who can access designated files after you pass away.

It might not be practical to keep yourself informed of all the policies of the all online companies with which you have an account. Instead, consider maintaining a list of usernames and passwords for your online accounts. You can provide the list to a designated person and include instructions for how you want your accounts handled after you pass away.  If you are uncomfortable giving away your passwords while you are still alive, you can sign up for a service like PasswordBox, which allows users to store all of their usernames and passwords online. When you pass away, PasswordBox will grant a person of your choosing access to your information.

If you would like assistance with drafting an online estate plan or any other aspect of estate planning, feel free to contact me.

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