Most of our clients have made estate plans to dispose of their tangible property after they are gone. Today, however, most people also have a good deal of intangible property to deal with -- things like online accounts for banking, payment, retail, social media, email, and even for our websites and blogs.
Clearly, a good deal of important and sensitive data are online these days, and the rules regarding access to this information are strict and still being defined in the legal settlement process. Challenges include the ownership, transfer and disposition of digital assets, ranging from passwords and web domains to digital business contents stored on mobile devices.
Experience shows these various digital assets often outlive our clients, so we need to help families manage them. A handy tool to do so is an organizer for Digital Estate Information, which can be found on our website, www.thorleywm.com, inside Estate Planning.
Much like the Vital Document Locator that we provide for tracking hard-copy documents, the outline for Digital Estate Information facilitates creation of an inventory of one’s digital assets, along with passwords or other means to access them, and instructions for their disposition upon one’s death. For example, if someone has changed the password on the router for his or her home computer, that information should be documented to make things easier for the appropriate person to access and manage the online assets.