Plan for the fate of your digital assets

An important step in estate planning is creating an inventory of your assets. Your executor – the person you designate in your will to carry out your last wishes – uses the inventory to make sure all of your property passes to your heirs. That includes your digital assets. Documenting these along with more traditional effects can help ensure your final wishes are honored and your estate is administered correctly. Here’s what to keep in mind as you compile a list of your digital assets.

Passwords. In order to review financial accounts with banks, brokerages, or other businesses, your executor will need your current password. If you protect passwords with an encrypted program, include the master access key. Most importantly, keep your list updated when you change passwords.

Be comprehensive. Add web addresses, user names, and passwords for non-financial accounts such as your email and online storage sites to your inventory. Why? These accounts can be essential for retrieving invoices, statements, and other paperwork for which you’ve chosen electronic-only delivery.

Remember the non-digital. The physical assets you use to access your digital data include your phone, tablet, and computer. For these assets, your executor will need passwords and file names. Also list the location and encryption information for off-site or standalone storage devices such as flash or other external drives.

Individual states are moving toward adopting laws that allow your estate representative to manage your digital assets. If your state has not yet taken steps to address the issue, you may be able to add wording to your will or have your attorney prepare an authorization for release of the information. In either case, keeping track of your online financial activity can make assembling an inventory of your digital assets a simple process. Please contact us for more information and tips.

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