Estate planning in the 21st century is no longer considered, non-traditional planning. With so many people having digital assets, including email accounts, Twitter handles and Facebook pages, it is important to know what to do, and what the rules are in handling these assets when a person passes away.
Indeed, technology companies have procedures and regulations for unaccompanied accounts (i.e. accounts that belong to people who have passed away). But even with these rules, provisions in ones estate plan should be developed to deal with the safeguard and transfer of digital assets to the proper beneficiaries.
To help in this, the following tips should be considered.
Consider who should have access There should be detailed language regarding who will be allowed to access the accounts, whether they are trading accounts, email or social media, as well as those who may make decisions regarding them. Consider the executor of your estate or a trusted beneficiary.
Allocate ownership of data In the same vein, it may be helpful to identify who will own specific pieces of data when you pass; such as digital photo albums, music collections or online subscriptions to online magazines or media services.
Provide instructions to use information Essentially, passwords and other methods of access should be disclosed to authorized users.
Of course, these are only basic tips for dealing with digital assets in ones estate plan. If you have questions or ideas for how to protect such information, or how to structure your will, an experienced estate planning attorney can assist you.