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Estate administration should consider online assets

If you've begun estate planning, you're ahead of many other people in Oklahoma. Considering things such as end-of-life care and how heirs and beneficiaries will be cared for after you're gone can be stressful. Getting plans in writing today, though, reduces the stress of estate administration in the future. One thing to consider in those plans is digital accounts and assets.

Think about how much of your financial and other affairs are handled online today. Chances are, it's a growing percent. If you lost access to all that information today, it could be crippling. The same thing holds true for your heirs. Though you always want to protect your online accounts, you should also have a plan for passing that information and access onto someone when you're no longer around or able to handle your affairs.

Begin by making a list of your accounts and memberships online. You can create a file that is password protected to store such information or keep information on paper in a secure location. You should be aware that keeping login information in such a manner can be a security risk, so follow common sense procedures for keeping the information safe.

Include a trustee for digital information in your estate documents. Provide a way for that person to receive information about your accounts as well as instructions for what you would like done with those accounts. You may even ask someone you trust to delete or deactivate certain accounts in the future.

When online accounts have monetary value, ensure that information is included in wills and trusts, along with directions for how the assets should be disbursed or treated. Your digital assets are just like any physical assets when it comes to estate administration. Your Oklahoma estate planning attorney can help you include those digital assets in your estate plan so that they are easily accessible to the person(s) you select to handled them.

Source: CNBC, "Protect online assets with a digital estate plan" Thomas Henske, May. 19, 2014

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