Digital property will only continue to grow.
Do you have a cell phone or computer?
Are they filled with pictures or other files?
Maybe you run several social media accounts.
Do these really need to be considered in your estate planning?
According to a recent Morningstar article titled “Do You Have a Plan for Your Digital 'Estate'?,” you should.
First, take inventory of your digital property and accounts.
Click here for the "Virtual Asset Instruction Letter" we provide to our clients to assist with this inventory and process.
This should include phones, computers, cloud files, and social accounts like LinkedIn or Facebook.
Then you will need to determine what is important?
What valuable or sentimental files are on your computer or phone?
Who would you want to have access to what?
After you have made a comprehensive list, you will need to determine whether your loved ones would be able to access what they need and when needed.
You should compile locations, user names, and passwords.
Like any estate planning document, this should be kept in a secure location like a home safe or safe deposit box.
You should keep an electronic list as well.
Be sure to password protect it and back up the files.
The fiduciary will need to access it when it comes time to execute your estate plan.
Be sure to designate an individual to handle your digital assets according to your wishes.
Formalize your digital estate plan and be sure to provide proper authorization for your selected fiduciary to perform his or her duty.
Contact an experience estate planning attorney to help you get this right.
So, how do you find an "experienced" estate planning attorney?
First, ask around. Friends, family and other professional advisors are trustworthy sources.
Second, conduct an "organic" search on "Google" for "estate planning" near you (e.g., "Estate Planning Anytown MoKan").
Third, either way, verify! Check out the education, experience, ratings and client reviews of any attorney before you contact him or her.
In fact, I use both of these services to thoroughly vett attorneys before referring members of our "client" family for legal help in other areas of law or for matters in jurisdictions outside Kansas or Missouri.
Remember: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” When making your financial, tax and estate plans, do not go it alone. Be sure to engage competent professional counsel.
For more information about estate planning in Overland Park, KS (and throughout the rest of Kansas and Missouri), visit our estate planning website and be sure to subscribe to our complimentary estate planning e-newsletter while you are there.
Reference: Morningstar (December 15, 2017) “Do You Have a Plan for Your Digital 'Estate'?”