Today, the Wall Street Journal featured an important reminder on estate plans and digital assets. It discussed how many people fail to address digital assets in their estate plans and it can be very difficult to access these assets after a person has died.
A financial adviser said that she now addresses digital assets in all of her clients’ financial plans after learning that fiduciaries have a duty to distribute both tangible and digital assets but fiduciaries aren’t always given access to digital accounts after the owner has died.
This can lead to major complications for everyone involved.
For example, many people have online accounts like iTunes that are linked with their bank accounts or credit cards, and some have thousands of dollars sitting in online accounts like eBay or PayPal if they sell or trade items online.
If estate executors or trustees do not have access to these accounts, the funds could be locked up. Additionally, leaving the online accounts open makes them vulnerable to hackers, who could potentially steal the funds or drain the attached bank accounts.
The good news is that it is easy to add language addressing digital accounts to your existing estate plan with the help of an experienced estate planning lawyer. In many cases, it’s as simple as adding an addendum to your estate plan giving an existing trustee access to all of your online accounts.
Not only does this help to “shut down” your online existence after you have died, it also prevents your accounts from being hacked and having your assets and/or identity stolen.
No one likes to think about their death, but taking the time to plan now can help you live with less stress until that day eventually comes. Make sure your digital assets are protected today by contacting our Massachusetts law firm!