Traditionally, people in Nevada seeking to create an estate plan did so using paper and pencil. This old-school approach resulted with paper documents that an individual then placed in a safe spot so that their heirs and beneficiaries could access the documents when needed. They detailed their wishes about mostly tangible items and accounts. Now, those documents more and more often include a list of information relating to the online life of the individual doing the estate planning.
A list of online accounts and passwords has become an essential part of estate planning for many in Nevada and across the nation. Without such information, it can be difficult for surviving family members and business associates to access information on the Internet. In fact, in some cases, it is impossible to get into email accounts after the death of an individual.
Many in our state have a great deal of information in electronic format. This can include investment accounts and business information. This information can be essential to some executors who are working to continue a business or pay bills on behalf of a deceased individual. If they are unable to access necessary accounts, the distribution of assets may be delayed and a business may be adversely affected.
Not only is it important to ensure that an estate planning session includes a list of passwords and access information, it is also important to make sure that all accounts are listed as assets. Following the death of a loved one, people forget about many types of electronically stored assets. Included in this list are assets such as frequent flier miles and investments. A careful review of all accounts, both online and in traditional form, may be wise as a person prepares their estate.
Source: JoplinGlobe.com, “Digital assets often forgotten during estate planning,” Aug. 29, 2012