The Importance of Information Sharing in Estate Planning

Despite having a will or trust and other important estate planning documents in place, some people in Georgia may neglect to leave behind the passwords that allow loved ones to access online accounts and such hardware as phones and tablets. If the spouse who dies is the one who has primarily dealt with the finances and other practical issues, such as repairs, this can create additional difficulties for people at a vulnerable time.

Women are more likely to be widowed than men, and it is also less likely that they are the ones who handle the family finances. There are several steps both spouses should take to make sure each of them can get the necessary information. For example, some professionals advise against keeping important documents, such as wills, in safe deposit boxes since these can be difficult to access. A digital password manager can be one solution, but some people also prefer to have a written list of passwords as a backup. Although this is not the most secure solution, some people find the risk acceptable. Both spouses should also know where to find such important documents as car titles and warranties.

Another common error is overlooking beneficiary designations. These override a will or a trust, but people often fail to keep them updated.

State law, as well as website terms of service, may govern the rules for access to certain accounts, and it is important to review these as part of the estate planning process if digital assets are a part of the estate. People might benefit from leaving instructions for who will be responsible for such digital assets as photos in the same way they would for physical assets that have sentimental value. Cryptocurrency may present additional challenges since this can be a valuable asset that may be lost without the necessary passwords.

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