If you created your estate plan before 2005, chances are that it did not have any provisions dealing with the handling or distribution of digital assets. Don’t worry, if this describes the current state of your plan, you are not alone. Most estate plans created before then did not deal with these assets, since they are a relatively new aspect of estate planning. However, a large majority of people have now have email accounts, digital copies of important documents (such as deeds and contracts) as well as pictures and videos stored on a hard drive or in a cloud storage mechanism.
So there may be legitimate questions about what happens to email accounts, cloud storage information and passwords that protect them when a person passes away? Chances are that the people charged with administering an estate may not readily know about this information, even though it may be vital to properly distributing assets.
With that said an experienced estate planning attorney can help you update your estate plan so that it may do the following:
- Provide access and detailed instructions for executors
- Detail and organize digital data from all relevant sources
- Include instructions on company policies regarding the transfer of sensitive information
- Identify products and documents that can safeguard your information
Keep in mind that there is no set standard for protecting digital assets, and that these are merely suggestive measures to provide ideas on how to protect such information. If you have questions, an estate planning lawyer can help.
The preceding is not legal advice.