The digital era has revolutionized the way we live our lives. Without access to the Internet, many of our daily activities would come to a halt. Our banking, bill paying, and investing are often all conducted in a paperless fashion. While this electronic world has made just about everything more convenient, it can also pose some estate planning challenges.
This is because even though industry professionals suggest not writing down passwords for security purposes, failing to do so can make it extremely challenging for heirs, beneficiaries, and estate executors to identify and properly distribute estate assets. To see just how difficult this issue can be one need only look at the recent death of a crypto currency founder who recently passed away without leaving his password behind. As a result, approximately $190 million is crypto currency may be forever locked away.
Many accounts require complex passwords, too, which makes it challenging for surviving loved ones to figure out. Yet, these individuals need these passwords to access email accounts where statements are sent and the accounts themselves. So what is one to do? One option is to buck industry recommendations and write down all passwords, keeping them in a safe or safe deposit box. Another option is to utilize a digital wallet where all passwords can be kept and accessed with one master password. Of course, all of this requires an individual to keep passwords up to date.
The digitization of our society has significantly changed estate planning. Therefore, those who are new to estate planning, as well as those who have not revisited their estate plan for some time, should consider consulting with their attorney to ensure that their plan meets their estate planning goals. A knowledgeable attorney will know how to utilize wills, trusts, and other estate planning vehicles in furtherance of one’s wishes and to better protect both physical and digital assets.