Kith & Kin

Including online passwords and accounts in your estate plan

woman reviewing her online passwords for estate planning

Photo by William Iven on Unsplash

When preparing your estate plan, it is but logical to list your assets and how you want them to be distributed in case of your passing.

But one thing you may not realize is that your assets go beyond what is tangible. In this digital age, your online passwords, files, and accounts carry with them an innate value that you would also want to plan for what happens to these digital assets.

What are digital assets?

Digital assets are ‘electronic records’ that you own, or in some way or another, have a right to.  These include:

  • digital photos and videos
  • files stored in the cloud or online drive
  • online shopping accounts
  • a personal blog or website
  • online banking and financial accounts
  • social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
  • email accounts
  • digital copyrights or trademarks

So why would you need to include all these in your estate plan? It may seem trivial to look after files or your email or social media accounts but think about those you will leave behind.

Just like in your other assets, understanding what is estate planning and why it is important plays a key role.

For sure, there will be photos you would like your loved ones to have, digital information you would want to pass along, and more importantly, online financial records you would want them to be aware of and have access to. For some who have built a profitable online presence when they were still alive, estate planning and wealth preservation strategies and solutions are closely linked.

You would not want your loved ones or the executor of your estate to be hindered by passwords (or not knowing about them in the first place) when going about your digital assets.

It should also be considered in estate planning for parents as it protects your children (or authorized representative) from criminal charges when accessing your private data. So how do you include online passwords and accounts in your estate plan?

Remember that digital estate planning is still in its infancy stage, and there is still much to be established and enforced since activities are usually online.

It is important to take into account the terms of your service providers to make sure that the stipulations in your will are not going against theirs. This includes terms of use, banking, and privacy laws, among others.

Here are some essential estate planning tips for your digital assets:

1. Take an inventory of your digital assets

Itemize the assets and how your executor should be able to access these accounts. It is essential that you include web addresses, usernames, and online passwords. If there are digital files, specify where these are located or stored.

2. Choose your executor

Your executor for digital assets does not have to be the same person who handles the other aspects of your estate. Since your digital assets may deal more with private details, it is best to choose someone you trust.

3. Write a statement of intent

Specify how you want your digital assets to be treated and who you want to give access to these. Do you want certain files to be deleted? Do you want your posts to remain accessible online? Who do you want to benefit should these assets have monetary value?

Among the best estate planning tips is to enlist the help of a specialist attorney. An estate planning lawyer can assist you with drafting the digital assets in your will, or by adding a codicil. Make sure that you share it with your executor, attorney, and loved ones.

By including your digital assets in your estate plan, you save your loved ones from the headaches of trying to figure out your online accounts when you die. With digital asset management in your estate planning, you are making sure that your assets are treated according to your wishes.

Here at Kith & Kin Law Corporation, we pride ourselves with combining our up-to-date knowledge on Estate Planning Singapore with our corporate conviction to provide the best legal advice based on our client’s personal circumstances.

If you are looking for more information on preparing your estate plan, schedule a discussion with us today.