When you think of digital estate planning, you may be thinking of planning for your cryptocurrency. But if you do anything online, such as Venmo, Facebook, frequent flyer miles just to name a few examples, then you have digital assets and want to make sure someone can access them after you pass away. Failing to plan for your digital assets while you’re alive could cause unnecessary costs, stress and time to those you leave behind. Here’s what you should consider to make the job easier for your executor or trustee.
- Inventory your digital assets. Digital assets are virtual in nature, therefore your executor or trustee is not likely to find a copy by going through your mail or searching your home office. It is important that you leave additional instructions on what digital assets you have and how your executor or trustee is supposed to gain access. As such, the first step is making a list of them and how to access the devices. Don’t forget about two-factor authentication that is often set up on accounts to verify your identify when you are making the list of passwords for each digital asset.
- You want to keep your inventory safe. You do not want to keep the sensitive information in your will since that becomes public after you pass away. You also shouldn’t include the information in your trust as beneficiaries may be entitled to a copy after your death. There are several online storage sites, such as, Everplans or LastPass that may be a helpful tool to consider to keep this information safe and secure. Many other people choose to keep a written list of the assets and passwords and keep it in a safe location.
- You also want to keep your digital asset inventory updated. Just as you need to update your estate plan when life changes, your digital assets and passwords will change as the years go by. It’s important to keep this part of your estate plan updated as well.
- It is important to know that if your executor or trustee needs to access your digital assets and they do not have the information needed then your estate planning documents must give them the proper authority. As such, you must give them authority in your will or living trust. Also don’t forget that there may be a time when you’re incapacitated so it’s important that your property or financial power of attorney gives your agent authority to access digital assets as well.
- Check with your main online providers to see if they allow you to appoint someone to manage your accounts if you become incapacitated or pass away. Google and Facebook are among the few online providers that allow you to do this. Apple will allow you to set up a Legacy Contact for your Apple ID, but this will only allow your Legacy Contact to access certain information upon your death.
Digital assets are the future and it is important to think about how your digital assets impact your estate plan. Reach out to us today to get started on creating your estate plan at Sinclair Prosser Gasior.