Digital Assets and Your Estate Plan

Did you know that access to an electronic record is considered a digital asset? You should establish a way to keep track of important logins, passwords, access keys, and personal identification numbers (PINs) to ensure your family and power of attorney can access important online and electronic records when the need arises.

Make a list of each service and its access information. Your list may include, but is not limited to:

  • Email accounts (Gmail, Yahoo!, Outlook, Hotmail, etc.)
  • Media accounts (iTunes, Netflix, Kindle, Amazon, etc.)
  • Social network accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, etc.)
  • Online financial accounts (Bitcoin, PayPal, etc.)
  • Bank, credit card, and utility accounts with online access
  • Cloud accounts for storage and backup (Dropbox, iCloud, etc.)
  • Domains and websites
  • Electronic devices (smartphones, computers, tablets, etc.)

Digital asset credentials change regularly. Remember to periodically update this information and store it safely.

Most people, particularly baby boomers, feel that using a safe deposit box is the best option, however, this can backfire. Safe deposit boxes should generally only be used to store assets (for example, your coin collection or Grandma’s diamond ring) and estate planning documents that won’t be immediately needed. In addition, make sure to add another person’s name to your safe deposit box or your bank may not allow access without requiring probate proceedings.

Safer ways to store this information are in a safe or locked cabinet in your home. This provides two basic benefits: first, it’s relatively easy to quickly access, and second, you can tell if your security information has been compromised. Combinations for the safe can be stored with a trusted family member.

For those who are comfortable with the digital world, there are online services that offer safe, secure storage for your digital account passwords. Services like LastPass, Dashlane, or 1Password are digital vaults where you may easily store many passwords, allowing you to keep one master password available in your secure storage place at home.

At the 417 Business & Elder Law, we understand that digital estate planning is an important element in your estate plan. That’s why we are proud to be one of the few offices in the Springfield area that include digital asset verbiage in our estate planning documents.

If it has been a few years since you’ve reviewed your estate plan, we encourage you to contact our office for a review.

This article was also published in the printed version of the Volume 15 Apr-Jun 2019 Newsletter (PDF).

Please call our office at (417) 887-4170 if you have any questions about this article or would like to receive our mailed newsletter.

If you have questions about these services or would like to schedule a consultation with our attorneys, please give us a call today. We would be honored to assist you.