Even Nevada residents who may not exactly be technologically savvy have some sort of digital assets such as a Facebook page. These assets require estate planning just as much as an individual’s other assets. Some research may need to be done, however, in order to ensure that the executor of the estate or another family member will have access to those digital assets when the time comes.
For instance, prior to February of this year, Facebook would freeze a deceased person’s account, and all of the information was virtually lost to surviving family members. Fortunately, Facebook recently began allowing its users to choose what they call a legacy contact, who will be able to access the account in the event of death. In the alternative, a user can choose to have his or her Facebook page deleted upon death.
If a legacy contact is not identified prior to death, Facebook will still freeze the account. In order for the account to be accessed, the will would have to appoint an heir who is allowed access. That person would then be appointed the legacy contact by Facebook. Other online services such as Google also have policies regarding what happens to a user’s account upon death, but others still have not created such policies.
Therefore, accounting for digital assets in estate planning is crucial. It may take a court order or some other paperwork in order for someone to be able to get into a digital account, but doing the research ahead of time may be worth the time. Making these arrangements ahead of time may provide a Nevada resident’s family with invaluable photographs, videos and other digital property that they can cherish after the passing of a loved one.
Source: kansascity.com, “Your financial planner: Estate planning for your digital assets“, Alex Petrovic, July 8, 2015