Estate Administration Lawyer Lackawanna County, PA
Over the last several years, technology and its use have significantly grown, and a Lackawanna County, PA estate administration lawyer knows that this has actually had significant impacts on how families and executors are able to settle the estate of someone who has passed away. This technology has become such an integral part of daily life, for banking, shopping, professional profiles, social media profiles, emails, photographs, digital music, and even complete business are all contained online. What happens to all of this information when a person dies? What happens to their accounts, their content, and even the websites where they earn income? The legal team at Hoegen & Associates, P.C. provides a brief overview. For more detailed information about your particular situation, contact our firm today.
What Does the Fine Print Say?
When you set up any kind of account online, the provider provides you with an end-user license agreement or a provider service agreement. In order to open the account, the user must agree to the terms outlined in these contracts. Within each of these agreements are clauses that specify what happens to any content, information, or assets in the account should the user die. The reality is that many people fail to read any of these agreements, instead just scrolling down and clicking on the “agree” button. Failure to find out what is included in these agreements can cause all kinds of headaches for the user’s loved ones when they die.
As your Lackawanna County estate administration lawyer can explain, certain online accounts are not transferrable to anyone upon the user’s death; they only belong to the user/purchaser. This applies to songs, films, or stock images the user has purchased. In fact, many of these companies will completely delete the user’s account once they find out the user has died.
This is why it is critical for the user to include certain information in their estate plan in order to provide their executor or another personal representative the information to access these accounts before the company learns of their death and deletes the account.
Effective Planning Can Prevent the Loss of Content
It is important to read and understand all of your online service agreements. Know what items are non-transferrable so you know when a backup hard copy is necessary. Even better, simply assume that all content should be backed up, and do so often. Though tedious, it can prevent the total loss of any digital assets. Of course, you should also make the location (and any account instructions and passwords) known to your loved ones. You can outline the location of these items in your estate plan and instruct what should be done with any accounts upon your death.
Contact an Estate Lawyer for More Information
If you would like to learn more about how to protect your digital assets and other options you may have for estate planning, call Hoegen & Associates, P.C. to schedule a free consultation with a skilled Lackawanna County estate administration lawyer. We will evaluate your situation and recommend what estate planning tools are the best option to make sure your family is protected when you are no longer here.