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A Guide for Passing Password-Protected Assets to Your Heirs

Posted by Debby EhrlichDec 16, 20210 Comments

Envision your spouse or children huddled around a laptop. Your heirs frantically enter the name of your most beloved dog, then your favorite restaurant. They curse your name, wondering aloud why you never took the time to bequeath your password-protected assets to them properly.

Don't put your family in this position. Make a plan for your password-protect assets now—it may be easier than you think.

If you're planning to pass along password-protected assets, then you should:

  • Make a secure, comprehensive list of your digital assets
  • Explain where each digital asset resides
  • Include login details and passwords in your will and related estate planning documents
  • Grant legal permission for your heirs to access your digital assets in those estate planning documents
  • Work with an estate planning attorney to continually update your estate plan

Thoroughness is key when bequeathing password-protected assets. You must identify each of your assets and access keys, but you must also protect your heirs from a legal standpoint. If your loved ones know how to access your digital assets but don't have legal standing to do so, then those assets may be legally untouchable.

Those who seek a smooth inheritance of their digital assets should not:

  • Assume that naming someone as an executor or trustee gives them rights to your digital assets—this is not always the case
  • Change your passwords or login details without updating your estate planning documents (no, you shouldn't wait to “do it later”)
  • Assume that your loved ones already know or can figure out your passwords—you may be giving them far too much credit
  • Leave anything out

Estate planning documents are the perfect place to be overly specific. Any digital asset that you deem valuable, from an investment portfolio to a monetized social media account, belongs in your estate plan—as do legal permissions and instructions for accessing each.

Make a Plan for Your Digital Assets Today

An attorney who specializes in Estate Planning will ensure that your loved ones are taken care of. You may not be at risk of losing $145 million, as the heirs of one cryptocurrency CEO did, because you lack a digital succession plan. Can you justify losing even one dollar, though, because you procrastinated on your estate plan?

You may fancy your loved ones as code breakers, but your estate should not be a riddle. Even if your heirs can solve one or more of your passwords in the event of your passing, they may not have a legal right to your assets unless you grant it in a legal document.

Leave nothing to guesswork. Call DME & Associates LLC today at 805-312-8059 for a no-obligation consultation.