There is likely a large number of people in Georgia who pay their bills and manage other types of accounts electronically. This option has several benefits, including helping to reduce paperwork in a person’s house, save money and help the environment. However, it can be troublesome during the estate administration and probate process if estate administrators or trustees are not aware of the existence of certain assets and debts and are unable to access them.
While more states are enacting laws that address how trustees and others can access digital assets and obtain passwords, many states still do not. Fortunately, including specific directions regarding digital accounts as part of an estate plan can significantly help those trusted with overseeing a person’s estate. Relatively simple actions can significantly ease this process.
First, creating an inventory of assets and other digital accounts can be helpful. Including passwords also eases the process. Some estate planning professionals recommend giving careful consideration to who will have access to these accounts as they often include detailed personal information and correspondences.
Many people in Georgia may be unaware of how much of their lives are online. However, they post pictures and interact with friends and family on social media, conduct much of their banking online and manage their stock portfolio and retirement funds through the use of the internet. If a trustee or administrator has to spend time identifying accounts and login credentials, the estate administration and probate process can be significantly delayed. An attorney with experience creating estate planning can help people understand the necessary information to gather as they create their plans.
Source: kiplinger.com, “Digital Assets Need to Be a Part of Your Estate Plan“, John M. Goralka, June 15, 2017