If you are making or revising your estate plan, one crucial component to address is your digital life. The assets, accounts and businesses you have online will likely require attention when you pass away,
Unfortunately, people often forget to include certain details related to their digital life, potentially triggering conflicts and costly oversights.
Provision naming digital asset manager
There could be a few different outcomes if you do not name a party or parties to handle your digital accounts.
First, the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA) extends the rights of fiduciaries who manage tangible assets to cover digital assets. However, this does not cover access to things like email and social media accounts.
Another option is that parties can petition the courts for permission to manage assets, but this can take time and money loved ones would typically prefer to avoid.
If you do not designate someone to manage your digital life, matters could be handled by people you do not trust or completely ignored.
For someone to close, change, update or review online accounts, they need to know how to access them.
Some sites and services have procedures and policies that allow parties to perform certain activities after the owner passes away. However, in most cases, unless you give someone login information, they cannot get in.
As part of your estate plan, you can include a list of digital accounts, login names and passwords. Keep this list in a highly secure place and include instructions for how an authorized person can access it once you pass away.
Guidance for managing accounts
Another thing you might overlook in an estate plan is detailing what you want to happen with your digital property and accounts. So, even if you name someone to manage them and make it easy for that person to access them, they may not know what to do.
To prevent this, you can include instructions for closing, selling, or continuing your accounts with your estate plan. You can direct someone to download, archive or destroy information or images. Specific guidance can make it easy to carry out your wishes.
You can discuss these and other digital estate planning details with an attorney at the Quinn Law Firm by calling 814-833-2222.