Estate Planning Considerations in the Digital Age
Written by: Kate L. Wakeman, Esq.
With the rise of online banking, growing popularity of bitcoin and other cryptocurrency, and reliance on email for important communication comes vital considerations for individuals when completing their estate planning. Often, individuals believe their estate planning is complete after they meet with their attorney to execute a Last Will and Testament, a Durable Power of Attorney, and other documents outlining their wishes. However, people often neglect to give their named personal representative or agent their usernames and passwords should the agent need to access online accounts after the individual becomes incapacitated or dies.
Failure to leave instructions and log-in information regarding online accounts can cause significant problems for the personal representative or agent. The personal representative or agent may fail to realize an asset or account exists if statements and communication are only sent through electronic communication to the individual’s account. Additionally, the personal representative or agent may be denied access to cryptocurrency if he or she does not have the password to access same. These situations may lead to economic loss to the individual or his or her estate. Further, this leaves the personal representative or agent to spend significant time dealing with banks, credit card companies, and other institutions where the individual may have online accounts.
Some recommendations for avoiding this common pitfall include:
- Leaving all passwords for your computer and smartphone with a trusted individual or agent.
- Writing down all passwords and keeping the list in a safe deposit box which your personal representative, guardian, or agent will have access to.
- Using a digital wallet to store all passwords in one location and be sure a trusted individual knows the master password needed to access the digital wallet.
At the Elder Law Center of Kirson & Fuller, we are here to help you with your estate plan or any other legal needs you may have. Please call our office at 407-422-3017 to schedule a consultation with one of our attorneys.