Most Tennesseans, including those who are a little older, have a more extensive digital life than they may realize, and it’s essential that their digital assets are added to estate plans. The failure to do so can lead to added costs and inconvenience for heirs or even losing part of your legacy.
While it took some time, estate planning laws are finally up to speed with today’s technology, meaning your plan is outdated if it doesn’t include provisions for your digital assets, such as online accounts, transactions, files and even your smartphone.
What digital assets should I include?
The first step is to inventory all your digital assets, which includes your computer as well as all online services or accounts that are protected by passwords:
- Social media
- Message boards
- Online subscriptions
- Online financial accounts
- Hybrid accounts, such as an IRA that allows online access and management
- Smartphone and all your apps
- Personal web domains
- Cloud accounts
- Digital medical records
Making them accessible
Once you’ve listed all your digital assets, it’s vital that you include all the information needed to access them. List the name of the asset and web address of each account or asset, whether it’s in your name or your spouse’s or both.
Make sure you include user names and passwords and answers to security questions. Likewise, include all relevant information if an account requires two-step authentication to send a code to a phone or email address.
Decide who will have access
After you have completed the inventory, it’s time to decide who you want to receive that information with instructions on how you want the process to be handled. Then, include those wishes in your will and living trust. Typically, your executor has access to all your financial accounts, and you may want them to manage your digital assets as well.
Protect your legacy with knowledgeable legal advice
Accessing digital accounts used to be a frustrating endeavor as providers often refused access to executors and family members. However, Tennessee and many other states adopted the Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act to clear up those issues. An experienced estate planning attorney here in Tennessee can answer your questions about including those assets in your estate plan and help safeguard your family’s financial future.