Life without the internet can be hard to imagine. Most people in Florida have at least one or more social media accounts, email accounts and more. Important documents or family photos that were once stored in a physical location are now saved to the cloud. Although in many ways the internet has made life far easier, things can get complicated when individuals fail to include their digital assets in their estate plan.
Digital assets are things like usernames and passwords, digital files, e-commerce accounts and much, much more. These assets can be financially valuable as well as emotionally important, so protecting them from exploitation or abandonment is essential. Unfortunately, not everyone realizes just how important this is. A survey from AVG Technologies found that only 16 percent of baby boomers had given any thought to their digital assets in terms of estate planning, and only a mere 3 percent had actually taken steps to include them in their plans.
Planning for some digital assets is relatively straightforward. Popular companies like Facebook and Google gives users the ability to manage their wishes on their websites, although including that information in a will along with login information is still a good idea. Other accounts may require a bit more effort, such as the submission of a death certificate. Login information for online accounts that contain money or that can access a bank account — such as PayPal — should also be included.
The executor of a will is in charge of distributing assets, and leaving important digital property out of an estate plan can make the executor’s job much more difficult. However, planning for these assets can be relatively painless, as Florida residents can include important login information for online accounts as well as instructions for accessing cloud storage, e-commerce accounts and more. Doing so not only makes things easier for surviving family members, but it also ensures that a person’s property is still protected even after death.