As I noted in a blog post last week, Oregon has passed a law authorizing appointment of a "fiduciary" to access digital assets if citizens of that state so provide in their estate plans.
The new law takes effect on January 1, 2017.
In fact, other state legislatures are attempting to address access to digital accounts after the owner passes away.
Some have managed to pass laws granting access to an estate executor, but most have not passed anything yet.
Consequently, until your state steps up, you will need to follow the process outlined by the various tech companies for each account you have.
CNET recently made that easier by detailing the steps to take for some common services in “How to prepare for your digital afterlife.”
Here is a quick look at the actions you should take now:
You can take advantage of Google’s "inactive account" service.
Thereafter, they will be given access to your account for three months.
Your relatives will have to follow a "next of kin" process.
After completing that, account data will be provided on a DVD.
Yahoo and Twitter
Neither of these companies has a set process.
Takeaway: You will have to provide someone with your login information, if you want them to have access to the accounts after you pass away.
You can designate a "legacy contact" who will have some access to your account.
Here is another idea, if all of the above sounds like a hassle.
Consider using an online password manager (e.g., I use "LastPass") to store your online account information in one place.
That way, your designated person will be able to assess everything with just the use of a "master" password to open the manager.
While you are at it, consider contacting your state legislators and asking them to get to work on the issue.
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: CNET (March 2, 2016) “How to prepare for your digital afterlife.”