Switch to ADA Accessible Theme Close Menu
Torrance Estate Planning & Probate Lawyer
Call Today For A Consultation 310-755-0383
Torrance Estate Planning & Probate > Blog > Wills > CNN Article Highlights Importance Of Considering Digital Assets In An Estate Plan

CNN Article Highlights Importance Of Considering Digital Assets In An Estate Plan


As our world has become more digital over the years, so too have our assets been locked up between digital firewalls: passwords and codes to access almost any kind of account. And that creates a problem: even if you leave property to someone, will they ever be able to retrieve that property if it is left to them?

The Need for Digital Access

Even aside from property being left to them, loved ones may need passwords just to maintain the assets of an estate—for example, the password to the mortgage company in order to pay the mortgage, allowing the deceased’s family to remain in the home.

Sometimes digital assets have no monetary value at all—often, they are memories of a deceased person’s life and times, sentimental items that mean more than money.

According to an article in CNN, people have an average of 100 online accounts. Even if that number is off, or inflated by a bit—even if the actual number were half of that—that would still be a lot of accounts that others could not access after you pass away.

The article talks about beneficiaries and heirs who tried, hopelessly, to access necessary accounts of loved ones, only to be unable to access accounts, or they would find themselves locked out after futilely trying passwords that didn’t work.

Companies Won’t be Much Help to You

And no, contacting the companies won’t help; most companies will want probate paperwork before allowing third parties to access online accounts—which can be obtained, but often not in time to make crucial payments that need to be made through those locked accounts.

Many tech companies, like Google, will even delete inactive accounts after a number of years so if a probate case really dragged on, loved ones could risk losing digital information and access, entirely.

Inclusion in Your Estate Plan

The problem highlights an important part of estate planning, that may not have existed many years ago (which may have been when some people last revised their estate plan). Every estate plan should have some provision for accessing digital accounts.

That plan won’t force outside companies to give loved ones access to accounts, but it will provide a roadmap for others to access the accounts that they need to access.

Many companies, like Apple, Google or Facebook, even have settings, where you can designate someone to have access after you pass away.

If you don’t remember all of your passwords, you can leave a few, more important ones—such as the ones to your phone or email—which will allow loved ones to reset passwords.

The Digital Executor

You can even put someone specifically in charge of digital assets and passwords, sometimes called a digital executor. That way, when a password changes, you have someone to tell, and that person keeps a running log and records, so updated passwords are always on hand.

Are your digital assets and passwords included in your estate plan? Make sure that they are. Call the Torrance will and estate attorneys at Samuel Ford Law today for help creating your estate plan.





Facebook Twitter LinkedIn