Sharon D. Nelson, Esq., President of Sensei Enterprises, Inc., a computer forensics and legal technology firm in Fairfax, Virginia, recently wrote in her blog about what can happen to online accounts after a person dies.
Ms. Nelson relayed a story told by an attorney friend, about a client whose husband passed away without leaving behind the password to their bank account. He had gone paperless and paid all bills online, and the bank refused to give her his password. Without the password, the client had no way of knowing when bills were due, and quickly became delinquent on all accounts.
Collaborating with her own attorney on research, Ms. Nelson came up with language for wills and Powers of Attorney that include digital assets. She shares them on her blog, inviting readers to pass along to anyone who might be interested.
POWERS OF ATTORNEY
To give the Agent power over digital assets:
“Digital Assets. My Agent shall have (i) the power to access, use, and control my digital devices, including but not limited to, desktops, laptops, tablets, peripherals, storage devices, mobile telephones, smartphones, and any similar digital device which currently exists or may exist as technology develops for the purpose of accessing, modifying, deleting, controlling, or transferring my digital assets, and (ii) the power to access, modify, delete, control, and transfer my digital assets, including but not limited to, my emails received, email accounts, digital music, digital photographs, digital videos, software licenses, social network accounts, file sharing accounts, financial accounts, banking accounts, domain registrations, DNS service accounts, web hosting accounts, tax preparation service accounts, online stores, affiliate programs, other online accounts, and similar digital items which currently exist or may exist as technology develops, and (iii) the power to obtain, access, modify, delete, and control my passwords and other electronic credentials associated with my digital devices and digital assets described above.”
For greater emphasis to banks, include in the provision giving the Agent powers regarding financial accounts:
“….and to access, modify, delete, control, and transfer my digital financial accounts.”
Do you have an up-to-date will and advanced directives? The key is to create them BEFORE they are needed – BEFORE it’s too late! The Lawyer Referral Service of the NH Bar Association can refer you to a competent attorney who is experienced with estate planning. Call LRS today at 603-229-0002 or request an online referral.