Posted by: Heinz Brisske
An article in Technology Fox News is a good example of the issues that we face in dealing with digital assets after death. The general assumption has always been that estate plans deal with “hard” assets, but we have come to appreciate the importance of “digital” assets, and the difficulties raised by those assets when someone dies.
More and more, we live in a digital world, and our daily lives involve technology to varying degrees, and the rights, access, use and value of the assets that go along with that technology. We have Facebook accounts, LinkedIn profiles, photographs on various digital websites, online bank accounts, password-protected online shopping accounts and various online memberships, to name just a few.
What happens to all that information and all that access when you die? Who has the right to access? How do your Executors/Agents/Trustees get User Names and Passwords to those accounts? All those issues should be discussed with your estate planning professional, and accommodation should be made in your estate planning documents for digital assets.
Over time, technology will play an ever-increasing role in our lives, and you should make sure that you do everything within your power to make access to your digital assets as easy as current law allows.