In the 21st century, we now have to plan not only for financial and personal assets, but also for digital assets. We often forget to plan for these accounts. In Missouri, there is no law regarding digital assets. But that doesn’t mean we can’t take steps to plan. There are many reasons
to do so, including just making sure that your spouse or family knows what accounts they will need to deal with and how to locate them. Here are some tips for how to handle your digital assets after death:
1. Create an inventory. Make a list of all of your online accounts, with usernames and passwords. Make sure there is someone that is aware where to find the list.
2. You may want to use a password manager, such as LastPass, and share that information with your trustee or executor, but don’t put log-in information or passwords in your will or trust.
3. Write a document stating your digital-asset plan or write it into your estate documents. When you do this you need to be very clear about it. The more specific you are about who is in charge of these assets and the assets to which they should have access. You can include a specific statement that the trustee or executor should have the same access as the account holder for all of his digital accounts, specifically including the access to the content of the digital accounts (e.g. content of the emails). Of course, that is if you want them too!
4. You may also want to leave for your trustee/executor a statement of intent for digital assets or specific directions for each account. Also, due to the fact that an average American could have hundreds of accounts, you can write a general statement of intention to encompass
all other accounts that you don’t specifically name — past, present, and future.
5. Think carefully and be specific about what you want your executor to have access to. For example, can he read all of your email messages? If not, be direct about that issue in your statement.
6. Pick your executor carefully. Consider what information they’ll have access to in your online accounts—and also that they’ll need at least some tech savvy to deal with those accounts.
Thomas Walters Estate Planning builds lasting relationships with our clients based on the highest standards of integrity and professionalism. We help our clients customize plans that meet their unique needs, concerns, and goals. We compassionately assist families after the loss of a loved one. We believe that a well thought out and professionally developed plan will provide peace of mind making transitions for generations stress free and cost efficient.