As technology continues to become woven into more and more parts of people’s lives today, it has also become something that people should remember when creating or updating their estate plan. From emails to photos to online banking accounts and more, people should make sure that their heirs or executors have the ability to manage any and all digital assets and accounts upon their death.
According to the Financial Planning Association, Florida is one of a small number of states that allows a person’s fiduciary to have access to all digital accounts under the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Accounts. It is also wise to investigate creating or naming a digital executor in a will. Some accounts, like Google or Facebook, may provide access to another party via their own processes so investigating these is wise.
Fidelity Investments recommends that people make a detailed list of all digital assets before determining how they would like them handled. These should include communications like emails, texts and instant messages; photos; videos; and online accounts for banking, investing, shopping and more. Under no circumstances should a person list their login credentials in a will, however, as this document becomes public upon death. A detailed list of login credentials is important so long as it is saved in a secure manner and location.
With increasingly strict privacy laws coming into play, stronger data encryption and even criminal laws that prevent unauthorized access to a person’s digital assets or accounts, the need to address digital assets in an estate plan today is clear and immediate.