How to Incorporate Your Digital Life into Your Estate Plans

How to incorporate digital life into an estate plan

In this modern age, our digital life has become almost as important as our normal everyday lives. Our online accounts, emails, social media profiles and digital subscriptions are all a part of our daily routines, so it’s natural to think about what will happen to them when you pass away. An estate planning attorney can help you navigate through the complicated online user agreements and laws that may restrict how others can be in control of your account through your estate plans.

Early last year, California passed the Revised Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, which allows trustees and executors to obtain disclosure of someone’s digital assets after the primary user’s death under specific conditions. Before this law, it was very difficult for executors and trustees to obtain access to digital accounts without a court order.

This new law allows for a requirement of prior consent before disclosing this important information. It also made it easier for executors and trustees to prove that the decedent had consented to the disclosure, which allowed them to have access to the digital information.

What’s Included in My Digital Life?

Your digital life can include:

  • Email accounts
  • Social network profiles
  • Blogging sites
  • Photo-sharing sites
  • Shopping accounts
  • Banking and bill-payment accounts

How Can I Ensure My Digital Accounts Are Protected Now?

  1. Take inventory of all the accounts and websites listed above. For each account, make sure you state the login and password information in your estate plans, as well as any answers to “secret” questions.
  2. Write down where you have stored this information and the master password needed to gain access to it. Place this information in a safety deposit box or with your estate planning attorney.
  3. Consider drafting and signing a statement that authorizes the companies that hold your digital information to disclose that information to your executor or another representative of your estate. You can draft this with your estate planning attorney as well.
  4. Update your will with pertinent information related to your digital assets.

If you have any more questions about what should belong in your estate plans, contact an estate planning attorney at Lowthorp, Richards, McMillan, Miller & Templeman, APC today.

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