A Guide for Executors- 10 steps to Digital Assets and Estate Plans

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A Guide for Executors- 10 steps to Digital Assets and Estate Plans

10 Steps to Digital Assets and Estate Plans:

  1. Identification of Digital Assets: Executors should begin by identifying and compiling a comprehensive list of the deceased's digital assets. This may include social media accounts, email accounts, digital photos, videos, online financial accounts, cryptocurrency holdings, domain names, and more.

  2. Locating Access Information: Executors should search for instructions, passwords, and access keys left by the deceased. This might be stored in a password manager, a physical safe, a will, or other specified locations. If unavailable, they might need to contact close family members or friends with relevant information.

  3. Understanding Legal Framework: Executors should acquaint themselves with the legal framework and terms of service for each digital platform or asset. Some platforms might have specific procedures or policies for managing accounts after the user's death.

  4. Compliance with Privacy Laws: Executors must handle digital assets while respecting the deceased's privacy and adhering to relevant privacy laws. They should understand what information they can access and what requires legal permissions.

  5. Securing the Digital Estate: Executors should take steps to secure digital assets to prevent unauthorized access or identity theft. This might involve temporarily deactivating accounts, securing devices, or transferring ownership of digital assets as per the deceased's wishes.

  6. Notifying Relevant Parties: Executors might need to inform service providers, such as social media platforms or financial institutions, about the death. Some platforms have specific procedures for account closure or memorialization.

  7. Transferring or Managing Digital Assets: The executor should transfer or manage the digital assets accordingly based on the deceased's wishes outlined in the will or estate plan. This could involve transferring ownership, archiving data, deleting accounts, or distributing digital assets to heirs.

  8. Documenting Actions Taken: The executor needs to keep detailed records of all actions taken regarding the digital assets. This documentation might be required for legal or accounting purposes.

  9. Seeking Professional Assistance: Executors should seek legal or financial advice if they encounter complexities or legal uncertainties in managing digital assets. Professional guidance can ensure compliance with legal requirements and avoid potential disputes.

  10. Closure and Estate Finalization: After completing the necessary tasks related to digital assets, the executor should ensure that all loose ends are tied up, and the estate is finalized following the law and the deceased's wishes.

 

Dorsey's Realty Disclaimer -  Remember, consult with an attorney who specializes in probate and trust matters to ensure that the disclaimer meets the specific legal requirements and addresses the unique circumstances of your situation. This disclaimer is a general example and may need to be customized to fit the specific circumstances and legal requirements of the probate estate or trust you are dealing with. It is always advisable to consult with a legal professional to ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations. 

Contact your dedicated Certified Residential Real Estate Probate Specialist Fred Dorsey

"Prince of Probate" to schedule a telephone conversation.

301.760.2178

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