Many people have probably had the experience of seeing an automatic Facebook update celebrating someone’s anniversary or milestone of friendship on Facebook after one of those people has passed away, which raises important questions about the value of digital estate planning. The reality is that it is just as important to accomplish your digital estate planning as it is your traditional planning.
Failing to provide for your online presence when you pass away can cost your family real money, just as if you were to pass away without a will. This becomes increasingly true as more wealth management becomes digital instead of paperless, meaning that there are fewer clues about the financial decisions made by others.
Computers have a relative expectation of privacy as currently interpreted under the fourth amendment but you can lay out individual plans for what you would like to happen to your digital assets after you pass away. This is an important conversation and one that involves planning ahead. You do not necessarily, for example, need to provide password and data access to the beneficiaries who you hope will take over these accounts when you pass away, but you might provide a master password service and leave it with your executor so that he or she can distribute it to the appropriate person.
One of the most important things you can do in the digital estate planning process is to make an inventory of all of your online accounts. This includes anything with a financial connection as well as your social media accounts and any places where you have stored family memories such as photos. This will make it easier for the individual appointed to handle this aspect of your estate to accomplish goals quickly and without confusion. Contact an Ohio estate planning attorney to learn more about the steps involved in digital estate planning.