What Should an Executor Know About Finding Digital Assets?

Digital assets are increasingly a part of loved ones’ estate planning but you might not realize this because you didn’t have access to their computer before they passed away. This can present unique quandaries and challenges for the purposes of estate planning and you should be prepared to consult with a knowledgeable lawyer as soon as possible if you have been named as an executor.

Executors must locate all assets belonging to the estate and help to create a transition or asset transfer plan for them. The first thing you can do to help your executor is to make an inventory of all digital assets that you own. Storing these in an online password database, such as last pass or one pass, will make it easier for your executor to get information about usernames, passwords and accounts.

You might provide the primary password to this person in documentation to be given to your loved one when you pass away, or you might tell them where they can find it and the code to access it can be provided by someone else. As you can see, there are serious financial consequences of allowing someone else to have access to your materials so you need to proceed cautiously.

Electronic devices like your computer can also be a storage spot for these accounts but do not assume that your loved one will know to check this information or your file folder system. It’s a good idea to present them with a letter explaining the details of your digital assets and accounts to make it easier for them. For more information about digital asset planning, set aside a time to meet with your estate planning attorney.    

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