In the internet age, most of us will leave behind some kind of a digital legacy that includes online bank accounts, investment accounts, digital photos and other kinds of data. Most of this information will be password protected and some of the data can be very valuable to our heirs — either for financial or sentimental reasons. This is why it is now necessary for Orange County residents to create a plan for organizing their digital assets and to include them in their estate plans.
Various companies have popped up to fill the need of organizing digital assets for estate planners. These services can be very helpful by gathering lists of websites where digital assets can be found, in addition to saving the passwords to access those websites. Before such services came about, the other option was to keep a spreadsheet or piece of paper with all of this important information recorded on it. Just like any other element of estate planning, though, all of this information needs to be kept up to date. Every time a password is changed, the record of digital assets should be updated.
One digital estate planning company lets estate planners save digital copies of all the documents in their estate plans, including health care directives, funeral wishes, wills, plans for pets, wishes for one’s Facebook page, what should be written in an obituary, family photos and other important information — like a favorite meal recipe.
Certainly, modern-day estate planning lawyers would be remiss not to bring up the issue of digital estate planning with their clients. Orange County residents who have not already done so may want to speak with their estate planning attorneys about updating their wills to include a plan for their digital assets.
Source: US News & World Report, “Passwords and Powers of Attorney: Your Digital Estate Planning Options,” Teresa Mears, Dec. 03, 2015