A recent article, written by Sarah Butters, Esq. and David Shayne, Esq. of Holland & Knight, highlights an important issue that should be considered in estate plans. Normally, an estate plan contains a will, power of attorney, and a healthcare directive. In today’s digital world though, many of our important documents and information are stored online. When you pass, who will take care of your online and social media accounts. The article suggests the importance of a computer digital account (“CDA”) plan be added to your estate plan. The article provides for key components to a good CDA plan,
“Prepare a digital asset inventory — create and remember to frequently update the list of your online accounts and digital assets.
Secure the inventory — keep the list in a safe place to prevent misuse, but arrange for your fiduciary to have access to it when the need arises.
Select a digital fiduciary — choose an appropriate fiduciary to access and manage your digital assets in your absence and upon your death or incapacity.
Arrange for access — inform your fiduciary how to find your inventory when you cannot access it and authorize him or her in writing to access your computer and electronic accounts with your passwords.”
As the internet is becoming more and more ingrained in our lives, thought needs to be given to what happens to our online presence after our death. Neglecting this could cause your online presence to carry on after your death or get in to the wrong hands. In addition, having online access to important financial records could save your fiduciaries time carrying out other items in your estate plan, especially with obtaining, reviewing and analyzing underlying financial documents. The article highlights a foreseeable problem and provides a valid solution. A CDA plan is a good addition to an estate plan.