Do your parents use technology that they once only dreamed about or could never have imagined using, on a daily basis? Today’s grandparents might send money to their grandchildren using payment apps, or store thousands of photos of them on their smartphones. The new year may have you thinking about estate planning, including how best to protect the digital assets of your aging parents. If this is important to you, you may want to include their digital assets in the process. Let us go over a few simple steps that can help ensure that the digital assets of your aging parents are protected in 2021.
1. Make an account information directory. Your parents may be used to using simple, easy-to-remember passwords and have one email address that they use to login to every account. Alternatively, they might have created multiple email addresses and have many passwords that they often forget and have to change. A simple way to manage this issue may be to help your parents choose a “master e-mail” that they will use for all important accounts, and close out any other accounts that will go unused. Then, help your parents create a directory or list they can refer to if they need help remembering how to log in to an account.
2. Help your parents update passwords. It can be important to regularly update passwords for digital security. Check in with your parents on a regular basis to help ensure this is done and keep track of the new passwords, if it is agreed that you should have access.
3. Work together on estate planning. Digital assets can be passed down in a will just like other assets, so they should be part of a carefully written estate plan. Particularly if your aging parents have a collection of photos, home movies, or other digital files that you care about and want access to in the future. It may be important for you to understand how you can access the digital files when the time comes, therefore, ask your aging parents to include this information in their will or in a separate set of instructions that is kept with their estate planning documents.
For more information on estate planning and how to protect the digital assets and more of your parents, please contact our office to schedule an appointment.