Your usernames and passwords for your online accounts should be an important part of your Estate plan.
You should include them in your Will, or in a memorandum to your Trustee for your estate. You should keep these updated regularly.
Currently the law in Ontario and Canada does not properly address digital assets on death. The law is murky in this area, often creating confusion, update and unexpected headache and cost for your successors.
Commonly when a person passes, family members and Trustees are faced with challenges to assume control of the deceased’s online accounts, including for banking and social media.
Companies who provide these online accounts may require that a Court Order be obtained before any information will be disclosed, which can be very costly and time-consuming.
Examples of this type of information for you might be:
- a person’s social media accounts on death (Facebook, Apple ID, Twitter, Linked-in, etc.)
- online banking
- Gmail and other e-mail applications and services
- software and applications downloaded by the deceased
Most of us use and rely online accounts today. So, imagine the difficulty your family members or Trustee might potentially have in trying manage those for you if you pass or become disabled?
There are many applications and other products available to securely keep and retain usernames, passwords and other important, personal information. Many of those are free.
Your digital assets should be part of your Estate plan. Your estate planning lawyer will hopefully raise this with you during your estate planning process. If not, ask about it.
Until such time as digital assets are better regulated in Ontario, it is up to you to ensure that your successors are given the information they will need to assume and manage your important online (and offline) accounts if you are no longer able to do so.
Jason Ward – WARDS PC LAWYERS
This WARDSPC BLAWG is for general information only. It is not legal advice, or intended to be. Specific or more information may be necessary before advice could be provided for your circumstances.
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