Asset Protection in a Digital World

9:24 pm Asset Protection

identity theft 150x150 Asset Protection in a Digital WorldMany of life’s activities that used to be done face-to-face or through the mail are now done online.  We bank online, we invest online, we buy and sell online, and we keep up with friends and family online.

So what happens to your online identity and records after you are gone?

Savvy estate planners know that their client’s online identities and accounts must be protected after death just as well as their assets and properties are protected.  It is all too common today that a loved one trying to access a decedent’s online accounts and records is unable to do so because many popular social media and email sites will not divulge account information to anyone but the account holder.

For example, to access email account information for a deceased account holder, you will have to provide documentation – and each email provider has its own process for obtaining the information:

Google Gmail – you must submit a death certificate, a photocopy of your driver’s license or government issued ID, and the full header and content of an e-mail sent to you from the account.

Microsoft Hotmail & AOL — will provide the deceased’s emails on a CD to those who can show they are next of kin.

Yahoo Mail – the decedent’s account is terminated upon death and all contents are permanently deleted.

There are websites that provide users with a system for storing all their online information, which is then made available to named beneficiaries utilizing a secure process upon the account holder’s death.

A better idea is to create a secure repository of your online account information and passwords and leave a printed copy or an electronic file for your beneficiaries or the executor of your estate.

The disposition of digital assets is an emerging area of estate planning law, so you should consult with your Newport Beach estate planning attorney when creating your California estate plan to determine exactly how to proceed.

Get started by contacting our Orange County asset protection estate planning law firm as soon as possible.

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