Going paperless may cause difficult in estate planning

In Minnesota and across the country, society has begun moving away from paper and has started doing a majority of interaction and personal business online. While it may make day-to-day business easier, it can make things difficult when it comes to handling an estate after a person passes away.

In the past, when a person passed away, a person designated as a fiduciary would go to their home and locate physical copies containing information about bills, bank statements, and the like. These days, however, many people's records are located on their computers or online. Due to certain acts put in place by the government, however, it may be illegal in many cases to obtain a person's online passwords and statements.

Some sites have programs in place for situations in which a user passes away. Social media giant Facebook, for example offers users the option of selecting a legacy contact. This person will gain access to the deceased's account after they pass and can have the account memorialized. Google, likewise, offers users the option to allow a person limited access to their accounts after they have passed and are inactive for a certain amount of time, or they may elect for Google to delete their account altogether.

Those who have had a family member pass away may not be entirely aware of how to go about handling their online information and transactions. They may find it helpful to consult an estate planning lawyer, who may be able to advise them of legal ways to access the deceased's information.

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