Tennessee residents who are creating their estate plans should make certain to include plans for how to handle their digital assets. In today’s world, online assets have taken on a more prominent role. Without planning for how they can be accessed and distributed, people’s loved ones might not be able to access their online accounts after they pass away.
Obstacles to accessing online assets
Several obstacles exist that can prevent family members from accessing their loved ones’ online accounts and digital assets. Some of these obstacles include the following:
• Password protection for smartphones, laptops, and online accounts
• Encryption of digital data
• Laws prohibiting unauthorized access
• Privacy laws prohibiting online companies from turning over data
Including provisions in a will to specifically authorize an executor to access a person’s online accounts can help to ensure that a person’s digital assets can be properly handled and distributed.
Information to leave for loved ones
People should leave a list of all of their online accounts and passwords so that their digital assets can be easily located and accessed. They should also list what they own and assets for which they only have licenses. During the estate planning process, people should make sure that their wills and durable powers of attorney address their digital assets and update existing documents that do not mention digital assets to include how they want them to be handled after they die.
Many people store invaluable mementos and photos in their social media accounts and in the cloud. Without addressing these types of assets in estate planning documents, loved ones might not be able to access them after the owners pass away. Making sure to address digital assets in an estate plan can help to ensure that people’s loved ones will be able to identify, locate, and distribute all of the assets people want to leave for their families.