Interesting topic that is not usually considered.
I wrote some time ago about considering online assets and accounts when preparing an estate plate. The Wall Street Journal recently investigated what several major email providers require to grant access to a deceased user’s account. While getting access to an account is not impossible for an agent or executor, the providers do require some documentation in order to give that access.
- Google requires several items, including a copy of a death certificate, documentation of the agent’s authority to act on the deceased’s behalf.
- Hotmail and AOL require a showing that the party seeking access is the deceased’s next of kin.
- Yahoo requires a court order granting the requesting party access to the account.
Such information should serve as a reminder that leaving a list of online accounts, passwords, and instructions is an important part of estate planning in the 21st century.