What does your digital signature look like?
Currently, it is estimated that nearly 72% of American adults have an online presence or use social media sites. We use electronic billing, shop online, review accounts or simply surf the web, Google, Facebook, or perhaps Twitter. Our use of these accounts creates an online identity or "digital signature."
What happens to our digital signature when we die? Unfortunately, our loved ones have to manage our on-line presence. I have worked with clients whose spouse passed and they had to handle their online accounts. The grieving spouse had to search for online IDs and passwords at an already difficult time. Now is the time to create a digital estate plan.
Presently, 19 states have enacted laws that protect digital assets which includes computing hardware, flash drives, digital services; iCloud storage, and social media accounts, to name a few. The Pennsylvania Legislature has introduced SB 518, Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, which is in the Judiciary Committee pending further action. While Pennsylvania currently does not recognize a Digital Executor, a duly named executor will have the powers necessary to work with online providers. The process, however, will be slower without online IDs and login information.
Everplans.com offers great advice on the first steps to creating a digital estate plan at www.everplans.com/
For more complicated digital presences and to make it legal, contact me to write your digital estate plan.
As a take away, begin preparing your list of Digital Assets and document your IDs and passwords in a secure location and/or provide the information to your attorney or future executor for safe keeping.
- Catherine Mihalick, Esquire, CTFA
Vinsko & Associates, PC