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Estate planning and digital accounts

On Behalf of | May 2, 2019 | Estate Planning

In today’s world, almost every household has one or more computers. These devices have made life simpler in many ways. For example, the Colorado resident can pay bills, make purchases and communicate with friends and family without leaving the comfort of the recliner. However, this change in lifestyle has also made estate planning more challenging in some ways.

Now that so many individuals use the internet to pay their bills and review their investment and other financial accounts, the paper trail that was once used to track the deceased’s assets and liabilities is often nonexistent. In many instances, loved ones must look through the individual’s email and other digital accounts and devices to obtain a clear picture. Unfortunately, access to these accounts and devices may be hampered by password protection.

Password protection is an essential component for digital accounts; however, in order to make these accounts accessible for those administering the individual’s estate when the time comes, it is necessary to provide the necessary passwords. One way this can be done is by simply writing down the names of each account and the corresponding passwords. This list will then need to be kept in a safe location such as with a trusted friend or family member or in a safe deposit box. Of course, it will be necessary to update this list each time that changes are made. It is also important to authorize access to email accounts in your power of attorney and in your will. 

Another option is to utilize a digital wallet to store such information. Digital wallets are designed to store password information so that it is readily available. They can be accessed by the use of just one password. This password can then be kept in a safe deposit box. Or, some Colorado residents have found that establishing a password pattern to account for required changes in passwords and providing this information to a trusted friend or family member is the appropriate option; experienced legal counsel can help the individual decide what is best in each estate planning circumstance.