Like most people, numerous California residents like living part of their lives online. They may take trips or spend time with family and want to post photos or anecdotes from the occasions on social media. They may also want to handle part of their professional and financial lives online by having access to bank accounts and other online portals. What they may not realize is that they are creating digital assets that likely need addressing in their wills.
While keeping online account password protected is a smart part of internet safety, it can cause problems if surviving loved ones do not know those passwords. If instructions for accessing online accounts are not left in estate planning documents, loved ones could remain locked out of important accounts or otherwise unable to obtain sentimental digital assets. Aside from providing passwords and access information, individuals may also need to dictate how the ownership of those assets should pass on after death.
Without proper access or ownership, online accounts that remain open could entice unscrupulous parties. Hackers could gain access to sensitive information and potentially steal a person’s identity after his or her passing. Individuals can work to protect against such outcomes by accounting for their digital assets in their estate plans.
Wills can certainly prove useful when it comes to indicating who should inherit certain digital assets, but other documents and tools may also be needed to fully address digital assets in estate plans. Accounting for such property may be new to many California residents, but fortunately, they do not have to try to figure out how to best address them on their own. Knowledgeable estate planning attorneys can often provide insight and advice along the way.