Many individuals lead active, virtual lives. They are on gaming sites, social networking sites, have online financial capability, and are active on online auction site. What impact can these activities have on their estate plan? It depends on how familiar the executor and heirs are with the online activity.
A typical consultation with an estate planning attorney will include an inventory of all of the physical assets of an individual for inclusion in his/her estate plan. Cash, financial instruments, property, business ownership interests, etc. are all included in an estate plan. But the virtual world requires additional estate planning, such as how are online assets passed along to heirs in an estate plan?
It may seem esoteric, but many estate planning attorneys are beginning to include passwords to internet domains, online auction site account information, email account passwords and other online information in estate planning documents. Many of these sites have a monetary value – such as web site domains which may be worth thousands of dollars and online businesses. Others have the ability to reduce the size of an estate (e.g. online auction sites where bids are pending) and need to be included in an estate plan. There are also online services that promise to convey all of your digital info to your heirs in the event of your demise. This sounds like a convenient service, but hackers would gravitate to these kinds of site because they contain a treasure trove of information. It is safer to create a hard-copy file with your estate planning attorney and keep all of that information with your estate plan, so that your heirs can have easy access to the information.
As technology progresses, your estate plan needs to keep up with the changes in your virtual and temporal lives. Estate planning has crossed a brave new frontier along with the rest of society. A regular consultation with your estate planning attorney to review your estate plan can make life much easier for your heirs.
Antelope Valley estate planning law firm Thompson Von Tungeln (TVT) offers sophisticated estate planning and administration for the affluent, discriminating client. As Board Certified Specialists in Estate Planning, Trusts and Probate as certified by the State Bar of California Board of Legal Specialization, Mark E. Thompson and Kevin L. Von Tungeln are expertly equipped to serve these clients with the creative, effective and custom solutions they demand. For more information, contact TVT at (661) 426-2499 or visit their websites at www.EstatePlanningSpecialists.com and www.Medi-CalHelp.com.