It has been nearly impossible for the family of the deceased to gain access to digital accounts in the past. However, there is some progress.
In response to the problem of digital accounts of the deceased being accessed for an estate, some state legislators have slowly been passing new laws to permit access to digital accounts and some tech companies are beginning to change their policies to account for this, according to the Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog in “Digital Assets Estate Planning — Alternatives to Perpetual Access.”
However, when it comes to your estate planning, do you want someone to have access to your digital accounts after you pass away? If yes, for how long should they have that access?
The problem? The longer a digital account remains open without someone monitoring it, the more likely it is to be hacked by someone who can use the information in it for criminal, fraudulent or other nefarious purposes. Cases of this happening are becoming much more common. It sometimes means that estate administrators have to deal with all of the problems associated with identity theft, in addition to their more traditional duties.
Reference: Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog (April 6, 2018) “Digital Assets Estate Planning — Alternatives to Perpetual Access.”