Monday, October 17, 2011

Digital Inheritance

This article from the UK caught my attention; it claims that Brittons are leaving passwords in their wills. What I find shocking is that the article does not address the implications of putting passwords into a will. Here in the US a will, once filed, becomes a public record. Anyone can go the courthouse and review it. Maybe they are not public in the UK. But I'd still be hesitant to put a password into a document that will be filed and read by countless people.

When I work with clients I recommend that they put all passwords on a single sheet of paper, kept safe at home in a fire proof box. That way it is accessible if needed. Passwords for the following are important to log:
  • banking accounts;
  • retirement accounts;
  • credit cards;
  • on-line bills;
  • social media; and
  • digital media stored on the cloud.
When drafting a will, one should give thought to their digital assets. This would include:
  • web domains;
  • intellectual property;
  • images and video;
  • music; and
  • software.
The rights to these assets would be passed in a will since they are a form of probate property.

Remember, a blog is not legal advice. It is designed to share thoughts and ideas. Please consult a lawyer in your state for specific legal advice.

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