This blog is Part 1 in a series of articles addressing estate planning for digital assets. See here to view the other blogs in our series.
The online world continues to evolve rapidly, and for many of us, our lives are ruled by the internet, the cloud, email, and digital assets. Our lives are a maze of “unique user IDs” and password-protected websites for our bank accounts and other important personal and professional items.
Permitting access to these sites and digital assets after death or incapacity is essential, yet the laws governing such access lag far behind most of our needs. Accordingly, it is important to address these issues, and here are four steps you can take now to begin properly planning for your digital assets:
- Inventory/Map. Keep an updated list of your digital assets, include usernames and passwords in a secure location, and provide notice of such location either to your fiduciary or in your will or trust. Your attorney or financial advisor should be able to assist with this.
- Tangible Media. Regularly back up important documents such as family photos.
- Estate Plan. Work with your attorney to include specific language in your will or trust that authorizes (i.e., gives consent to) a custodian to release information to the fiduciary and ensure such authorizations are updated periodically.
- Access. Work with your advisors to ensure passwords are updated and in a protected, confidential location for access by your executor(s) and/or attorney.
Our world is changing; to provide maximum protection and benefit to your family, both you and your estate plan should be changing with it. Fournier Legal Services was founded on a technology-based model and is uniquely positioned to assist you with issues related to digital assets.
For assistance with any legal needs related to your business or estate planning, contact Fournier Legal Services for a consultation at firstname.lastname@example.org or 860.670.3535.
Joseph E. Fournier is an Attorney and a CPA who has more than twenty years of experience in a variety of business legal matters, including start-ups and company formations, drafting shareholder and operating agreements, contracts, employment law, commercial litigation, tax planning and audit defense, and mergers and acquisitions (M&A). He also handles estate planning matters, such as business succession planning, wills, trusts, and probate.