Estate planning has traditionally focused on real property, bank accounts and tax issues. Now as more and more people manage their lives online, digital assets and debts need to be taken into account. If an executor of an estate is unable to access and manage online accounts they may not be able to locate all of the assets or debts of an estate.
People today may have online assets which have value or they may have provided their credit card and banking information to numerous businesses. If these credit cards are misused someone needs to monitor the online accounts to avoid fraudulent charges. Significant digital issues can arise from small business owners when their corporate assets need to be managed by their beneficiaries.
For individuals who have an online presence it is important to ensure your trustee knows that digital assets exist, how they can be accessed and how they are intended to be dealt with. Your trustee will need all relevant login information including passwords, user IDs, account numbers and other relevant information.
It is also important to appoint an executor who can effectively address digital issues and you may want to appoint a different executor to manage your digital assets than the executor who will manage the rest of your estate.
Deborah A. Todd