Increasingly, our world is becoming more digital. Email, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Yelp, Instagram, Pinterest, Vimeo, photo, video and music accounts…. the list goes on and on. So what happens to these accounts, and more importantly, the content in these accounts, when someone dies?
Currently, in New York, if the digital account owner fails to plan, the Executor or Administrator of the estate is left to deal with each provider and their varied policies. Many providers may allow an Executor to access the deceased owner’s accounts, but may not provide control of the content, including copying the digital content. That may leave your family without access to important pictures, videos, family and business information, music, and other art.
As always, planning ahead is the best policy. There are steps you can take to ensure your digital content can be accessed after death:
- Make sure you provide usernames and passwords for all accounts to a trusted individual; and
- Draft your Will and other planning documents to specifically allow your Executor to access your digital accounts AND control the content.