Many people wrongly assume that time spent online is purely for entertainment. In fact, many of the communications and business done online carries financial value. For British Columbia estate planners, neglecting to plan ahead for these digital assets can end in estate litigation for their families and loved ones.
There are many digital assets worth considering. For example, reward points or collected "miles" can carry substantial financial value and, if planning is conducted, may be transferred to surviving beneficiaries. Another thing to consider is email or social media accounts, particularly for accounts used in conducting business. Online storage, such as Google Drive, iCloud and Dropbox, may also come into play as people seek to distribute remaining assets.
To protect the future of these accounts, particularly if they have financial value, there are a few steps worth taking. The first is to create an inventory of all accounts, including asset locations and passwords. Additionally an executor will likely need access to a mobile phone to get through two-step authentication for particularly secure accounts.
Sometimes, the executor a person selects may be well-suited for most tasks but not quite tech-savvy enough to manage digital assets. In this case, it may be best to name a separate digital executor. Those who are left to execute a will with digital assets, particularly those which were poorly documented, may end up facing estate litigation due to the conflict and confusion that can follow. In these cases, contacting a British Columbia lawyer is a good idea.