11 Mar When it Comes to Your Living Trust, Don’t Forget Your Digital Assets!
Many of our clients who prepare their Living Trusts with us are impressed by how comprehensive our package is; it includes naming a Power of Attorney and an Advance Healthcare Directive in the event they become incapacitated and need someone else to make decisions about their care. Our workbook also has a section where they can list numbers for their healthcare and insurance providers, pharmacy, their medications and other important information. Included in every package is a provision, an Assignment of Interest, to assign your digital assets—including social media and online accounts–to the Trust so that the Trustee can use and control them.
Something you may not be thinking about: your online accounts, their logins and passwords
These days, when we’re managing an increasing portion of our lives online, our important accounts and data live behind logins and passwords, secured somewhere on a remote server farm or in a cloud. Think about what you access on a daily basis that’s protected by a login and password. It starts with a password to unlock your computer in the morning; more passwords for your email, iPad and perhaps your phone. The more accounts, apps and digital devices we acquire to help us manage our lives, the more logins and passwords we create. If something happens to us, it well may be critical to access the information in some of those online accounts.
Without login information, restricted access to your accounts
Something as simple as canceling a deceased person’s social media accounts can be extremely frustrating for a care person who doesn’t have the necessary login information to take down these sites. This becomes infinitely more frustrating when it comes to important banking and investment accounts. Some credit card companies and other vendors will not allow a fiduciary, for example, to have access without a court order.
The importance of naming a Digital Executor
It is critical to trust at least one person with your online security information. Naming a Digital Executor needs to become part of your end-of-life document development process. Your Digital Executor should have access to your computer files and online accounts—which includes logins and passwords–with instructions on how to handle them.
We encourage all of our clients to update their Living Trusts to reflect important life events and investments. Information about new or updated online accounts should be updated as well.