Have you ever used your spouse’s (or other loved one) username and password to log in to Facebook? On-line Banking? On-line Bill Pay? If so, what you’re doing is improper and sometimes illegal. These platforms, as well as Facebook, Apps on your smart phone, your Website, photographs, E-mail and much more are all types of Digital Assets. The fine print you didn’t read when you clicked that you agree to terms and services, likely said it is available to you alone and no one else on your behalf.
These platforms do not recognize Powers of Attorney, Court appointed Guardians, or Executors. Most businesses encourage you to go “paperless” and receive your invoice, statements, bills, etc. online via e- mail. This makes it harder to find out what someone owns and owes. This is where a Digital Release is needed. A Digital Release allows the platforms that hold your digital assets to release information to fiduciaries working on your behalf (Power of Attorney, Guardian, Executor).
In our increasingly digital world, a Digital Release has become a huge part of Estate Planning and not all attorneys recognize the importance. Also, we strongly recommend to our clients to write down in a secure location their usernames and passwords so that your trusted agent can access those assets or liabilities upon your death; since most people no longer receive statements in the mail each month, it can be impossible to detail your assets when you are no longer around to do it. Call our office to schedule an appointment to set up your Estate Planning Documents.