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It’s time to bring estate planning into the digital age

Jan 10, 2019 | Estate Planning

It is hard to imagine a life before a person in Florida could update their social media only for it to be read moments later by a person on the other side of the world. Technology has certainly changed the world and the way much of society functions, but are institutions equipped to handle these changes? When it comes to estate planning, some important updates might be in order to ensure that digital assets are thoroughly protected.

Digital assets can be extremely hard to track down. Things like login information for social media, passwords to cloud storage, usernames and passwords for digital currency and so much more are not always made available to family members upon a person’s death. This leaves many them unable to access things like stored pictures and valuable assets.

A digital will is an excellent solution for this problem. These are generally informal documents that can accompany a person’s regular will. In it a person can inventory one’s digital footprint by listing all accounts and the corresponding login information. To go a step further, some also choose to name a digital executor and leave behind instructions for handling those accounts.

Some digital assets must be handled a little differently. Assets that require a license before using — such as iTunes purchases — sometimes have policies that allow sharing between those living in the same household. Information on how to access that sharing function should also be included.

Compacting a digital footprint into a document can be overwhelming, but the end result is worthwhile. Otherwise, surviving family members could potentially be locked out of valuable assets that are only accessible by valid login information. Those in Florida who are unsure of where to start with this task might want to consider speaking with an attorney who is experienced in estate planning.