By now, you’ve probably seen someone’s Facebook page change to memorial status when they pass away. Facebook even lets you appoint a “Legacy contact” to manage your memorialized account. Or, you can choose to delete your account completely once you die.
This Online Tool handles your Facebook account, but what about everything else? Snapchat? Google Hangouts? Amazon? The online electric bill? What happens to your email when you die? If you die, can someone else sign on to your account and pay your bills? Or turn off an automatic payment?
Ohio has a law to help answer these questions and let you plan for your Digital Assets if you die or become disabled. In 2017, Ohio legislators passed the Digital Assets Act which gives you the tools to include online information in your estate planning.
If I am incapacitated…
First, the newest Statutory Power of Attorney (a POA) form includes “Digital Assets” and “the content of electronic communication sent or received by me.” In a POA, you select an agent to handle your affairs if you are alive but not able to make decisions.
The Digital Assets option gives them access to everything EXCEPT the content of your emails. So, your agent can pay your electric bill or use your email address book to send health updates to some or all of your contacts. So, if you want your agent to actually read your emails, you select the “content of electronic communication” option. State lawmakers felt email content was highly personal and need to be chosen separately.
If I pass away…
However, a POA expires when you die. So, to ensure someone has access to your Digital Assets and/or “the content of electronic communication” you should specify this in your will. This language can be as general or as specific as you want. It can be for all of your accounts or for a specific account, such as LinkedIn.
In conclusion, you can make sure someone has all your passwords, but accounts and passwords change. Using “online tools” such as the Facebook options helps manage some accounts. However, adding digital assets to your estate planning can ensure that all of your accounts are covered. Your POA agent or the executor of your estate will be able to open and use your accounts to do what you wish or what’s best for your estate.
We can help
So, contact us today to talk about your Digital Assets and all your estate planning needs.