Summary: You’ve prepared a list for your executor that includes all of your digital assets (social media accounts, cloud storage, online files, etc) and the corresponding log-in information. The next step is making sure that your estate plan includes language that gives the executor permission to access those accounts.
My blog has been on a bit of a digital assets kick for these first few weeks. We’ve discussed Facebook’s options for memorializing a page, Georgia’s pending laws on the subject of digital assets and executors, and the importance of keeping a list of your passwords. The next step is dealing with digital assets in your will and your power of attorney.
You will want to include language in your will giving your executor “all of the rights, powers and privileges that I have with respect to my digital assets.” Your attorney may also do the lawyerese thing and list every possible type of digital asset as examples and then use the classic “includes but is not limited to” language. You may also choose to include similar language in your power of attorney.
While that power is being more and more readily accepted for wills and estate representatives, an interesting issue arises with the power of attorney, which is only in effect while you are alive. You should consider giving your power of attorney (POA) the same powers that I have recommended giving your executor…but it is also important to know that not everyone is accepting this authority. For example, many banks do not allow anyone other than the individual account holder to use online banking and having a power of attorney that grants you access does not necessarily change the bank’s policy on this.
As online accounts of all types become more and more embedded in our lives, I think the issue of account access for POAs will become increasingly important. Eventually, states will begin to pass laws on this, but as far as I am aware, this is not on Georgia’s radar yet, even though H.B. 274 is pending with respect to executors.
If you have additional questions about your digital assets or would like to set up an estate planning appointment, you can contact Siedentopf Law at (404) 736-6066 or via the contact form on our website.
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