How do you address digital accounts in estate planning?

| May 24, 2021 | Estate Planning

Technology has changed the way people communicate and perform various other daily functions. Banking and investing, for example, becomes much more manageable when accessing an online account to move money around. Hopefully, Florida residents taking part in estate planning remember to address digital accounts when drawing a will or power of attorney document. If not, then beneficiaries and agents could run into trouble.

The digital world and estate planning

When a will enters probate, digital access to financial accounts becomes helpful to an executor. The same could be said of an attorney-in-fact who handles someone’s affairs. Keeping a file that lists all banking, investment and other accounts, such as phone and utility-related ones, along with the passwords, might prevent the loss of valuable time. Such information could go into an attorney’s file, a safety deposit box or even a secure location in the home.

It’s important to remember that probate involves more than distributing assets. An executor must file tax forms and pay creditors, so access to financial accounts moves things along.

Financial accounts aren’t the only things that estate planners need to prepare for others to handle. When relying on a health care proxy or living will for medical decisions, it might be helpful to make passwords for online health insurance accounts available. Swiftly accessing insurance information on behalf of an incapacitated loved one could make catastrophic events less anxious. In addition, dealing with subsequent medical bills may be less challenging when insurance information goes to the hospital at the beginning.

Communication and digital accounts

No one should overlook the importance of providing others with social media and email account information and passwords. Using these accounts to contact others may be vital.

The same advice may apply to smartphones. A smartphone’s passcode could open doors to many important files. The same advice could apply to computer passwords and online file backup accounts. The digital side of estate planning covers a lot of ground.

Working with an estate planning attorney may help someone address all their digital accounts and make plans. The attorney may also help write estate documents that are legal under Florida law.