Our Increasingly Digital World

Estate Planning

Amy M. Scott Smith | January 10, 2020

Do you have a cell phone?  Use e-mail? Bank online? Pay bills online? Store your photos in the cloud? Do you use MyChart to manage your medical records online?  Do you keep in touch with family and friends via Facebook?  

In our increasingly digital world, it is increasingly difficult for our loved ones to access our important information when we need their help during our life, or to deal with our assets at our death.

It used to be that if you became ill, incapacitated, or died, your loved ones could look in your file cabinet and desk drawers to locate your important account information, look in your paper address book to locate the contact info for your extended family and close friends, and look in your photo albums for treasured family photos.  Now, with nearly all of this information stored online, or in an electronic device such as a cell phone, most of which are secured and password protected, this important information is not readily available to those who might need it.  

We hear daily about phishing scams and online accounts that have been hacked, and as a result, laws are being enacted to ensure our digital asset assets are secure, and digital asset custodians (Gmail, Apple, your bank) are implementing measures to ensure you are the only person accessing your online assets.  As a result, if you do not properly authorize another individual to also have access to your digital assets and communications, it is very difficult for a loved one to access this information in a time of need.

There are essentially three main ways to authorize another person to access your digital accounts on your behalf:

1. Some account custodians (Google, Apple, Facebook) allow you to make these designations in your account settings.
2. In your Power of Attorney document, you can specifically grant your Agent access to your accounts on your behalf during your life to help you manage your affairs.
3. In your Last Will and Testament, you can specifically grant your Personal Representative the authority to access and control your digital accounts, including shutting down accounts like your e-mail and Facebook.

Talk with one of our estate planning attorneys to determine how you can protect your digital assets while still granting your important people access to the information should they need it.  

More From Our Blog

The Montana Income Tax Rebate: Are You Eligible?

Written by: Alexander Clark In July 2023, the Montana Department of Revenue will begin issuing state income tax rebates to qualifying taxpayers The rebate amount depends on theRead More

The Montana Property Tax Rebate: Does It Affect Your Property Taxes?

Written by: Alexander Clark On March 13, 2023, Governor Gianforte signed into law a property tax rebate for Montana homeowners Rebates are available for the 2022 and 2023 years EachRead More

A Little Bit about Worden Thane’s Pet Family

By: Jennifer Shannon and Dawn Donham The practice of law is hard The answers are never black and white, the deadlines are strict, and sometimes our client’s fate comes down to aRead More

Contact Worden Thane P.C.

While this website provides general information, it does not constitute legal advice. The best way to get guidance on your specific legal issue is to contact a lawyer. To schedule a meeting with an attorney, please call or complete the intake form below.