After you die, the Executor of your Estate might need access to your Digital Assets. In most states, Executors and Legal Authorities cannot access your Digital Assets unless you have made specific arrangements for them to access it.
You can leave instructions as to who must handle your Digital Assets and what must happen to your online accounts via a Digital Estate Plan or a Digital Will.
An Executor is someone who handles your Estate after you’re gone. A Digital Executor is an individual who handles your Digital Assets after you’re gone. An Executor or a Digital Executor can be a family member, a close friend or a trusted lawyer. You can choose an Executor for your Estate or a Digital Executor for your Digital Assets by naming them in your Will. If you haven’t appointed any, the court will decide one for you after your demise.
To avoid choosing a person whom you might not want to handle your accounts, it is always beneficial to appoint an Executor and/or a Digital Executor by naming them in your Will.
Like how you choose an individual whom you think can manage your estates for you as you want them to, you can similarly choose a tech-savvy individual as a Digital Executor to manage your Digital Assets.
What is the need for your Executor to Access your Digital Assets?
As we discussed above, your Executor has no legal authority to access your Digital Assets unless you specifically mention it in your Will.
If they cannot access your Digital Assets, it means they will not be able to get into your email accounts, social media accounts, online banking accounts and cloud storage.
Without access to your Digital Assets, your executor will not be able to:
- Check your emails and bill overdue bills
- Check your emails to download important attachments and phone numbers
- Pay insurance premiums online
- Terminate subscription accounts
- Delete or memorialize social media accounts
- Access documents, photos and videos stored in your cloud
- Make administrative changes to your blog
- Withdraw pending funds from PayPal or any other third-party money transfer applications
Having said that, your Executor might not be able to access your online banking account if you haven’t made any provisions for it in your Will. But they can definitely visit your bank and request an account closure.
Similarly, your gaming profiles and seller’s accounts might be requested to provide any pending payment to your estate. These organizations would probably complete the pending payment and close the account rather than let your executor access your account.
Some of the Internet companies like Facebook, Twitter and Google have made provisions for your executor to have some control over your accounts after you’re gone. Facebook allows you to appoint a ‘Legacy Contact’ to manage your Facebook profile after you’re gone.
Google allows you to choose up to ten individuals as your ‘Trusted Contact.’ When your Google account remains inactive for a certain period of time, Google sends an email to your Trusted Contacts, asking them to download the information and documents you have given them access to. After a period of three months from sending the email, your Google account will be permanently deleted.
If you are in the US, you might want to have a look at RUFADAA – the law governing Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets. If you are a Canadian, the law governing Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets is known as UADAFA.
Now that you know why your Executor might need access to your Digital Assets, it is time to create an Online Will for your Digital Assets or a Digital Estate Plan.
Sign up with Clocr and get all the help you need in safeguarding your Digital Assets.