How to handle digital assets in probate

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2024 | Probate And Estate Administration |

In today’s high-tech society, many people have digital assets. These can include social media accounts, email accounts, digital photos or videos, cryptocurrencies and other online accounts.

Executors need to be cautious when working with digital assets. Depending on the type, there may be different requirements.

Accounts with monetary value

Digital assets that have monetary value, such as cryptocurrencies, require careful handling. The executor should treat them in the same manner as other financial assets. These accounts may also have tax implications and require management during the probate process.

Social media or other accounts

The estate executor should review the terms of service for social media and online accounts. These legal conditions may have specific provisions regarding access and transferability after death. Some providers also offer tools or options that can assist with management.

For example, loved ones or executors who can provide a death certificate and proof of relationship can have some control over a Facebook account after a person’s death. They can choose to memorialize or permanently delete it.

Memorialization locks down the account so that no one can log in or make changes to it. This option also removes the profile from public spaces, but it allows friends to still view the profile and make posts on the timeline.

Deleting the account removes all aspects of the account, including pictures, posts and videos. It is a permanent action.

To make the probate process easier, the executor should have an inventory of all digital assets and their associated login information and passwords. This will help to account for all assets, allow for access and assist with management during the probate process.