Although technology is a part of everyday life, most individuals do not think about their digital assets (such as blogs, art, music, business websites, etc.) and digital information (email, banking accounts) when preparing their estate. However, without providing this critical information to a trusted individual, it can be extremely difficult for estate executors, or even a caretaker once a person becomes ill, to fully handle one’s final affairs.
Recently, AARP published an article discussing estate planning considerations for managing online assets and digital information. While it might seem like a hassle to update estate planning documents to include digital assets, this can go a long way toward providing loved ones with the authority and ability to handle one’s matters after passing.
It is critically important to give someone, whether a family member, caretaker, or future executor, the authority to manage digital assets before death or a medical crisis. When crafting a digital estate plan, the first step is to prepare (or revise) estate planning documents to authorize someone to be the “agent” for virtual assets and information. This includes providing the “agent” with the legal authority to “access, control, use, cancel, deactivate or delete digital accounts and digital assets.” In Colorado, the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act legalized this action by allowing a person’s family or executor the right to manage online assets, information, and devices after the person dies while still protecting their privacy interests.
Making a list of important online accounts, passwords, and domain names, so it can be easily accessible to a future caregiver or executor, can go a long way. One in three caregivers say their top challenge is locating passwords, and almost fifty percent of caregivers do not have the legal authority to ask providers, like credit card companies and email services, to disclose details or give them access to accounts. Another critical step in developing a digital plan is to write a letter, instructing a loved one on how digital assets and information should be handled. It is better to be thorough so there is no guesswork during the execution of the digital estate. Since laws like the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act now make these actions possible, it is vital to have a thorough digital plan and provide the executor with the authority to manage digital assets as they would other types of assets.
Because digital estate planning can be extremely technical, it is important to consult a Colorado estate planning attorney who has the experience and knowledge to help. Creating a thorough digital plan can immensely assist loved ones with ensuring virtual assets are handled in a delicate and detailed way.
Contact a Colorado Estate Planning Attorney
If you or someone you know has questions or is in need of a Boulder estate planning lawyer, contact the dedicated attorneys at Braverman Law Group. We have extensive experience handling Colorado estate planning matters, and we provide our clients with comprehensive advice and clear explanations of Colorado estate planning laws, as well as any important recent changes to the law. To discuss your legal matter and to schedule a free consultation, call us at 303-800-1588 today.