It is the beginning of a new year, and that tends to make New Jersey residents sit back and take stock of their lives. For many people, this means either updating or creating an estate plan. One aspect of estate planning that many people tend to forget is what will happen to any digital assets.
It may not seem like social media or online photo storage accounts are important enough to include in an estate plan, but without having access to them, a New Jersey resident’s family could lose precious memories. Moreover, if the executor of an individual’s estate is unaware of the existence of an account, it might not be dealt with as part of wrapping up a loved one’s estate. Fortunately, the solution to this issue does not have to be complicated.
A simple list of all digital accounts with their login and password information can be put with other estate planning documents. Once this list is made, however, it needs to be updated on a regular basis since many people change their passwords, add accounts and delete others throughout the year. The beginning of the new year may be a good time to update such a list. Depending on an individual’s preference, the list either can be printed out or stored somewhere online.
Regardless of how the list is kept, at least the executor of a person’s estate should be aware of where it is kept. As the online world continues to expand, more people are enjoying the convenience of going paperless. However, it may not be as convenient for the surviving family in the event of death. Therefore, it is important to include a road map of digital assets with an estate plan — especially until the law catches up with the technological advances people enjoy.
Source: hcplive.com, “This New Year, Don’t Forget Your Digital Estate”, David Walters, Dec. 31, 2014