The technological advances that we make as a society impact every industry and estate planning is no exception. We live in the information age, and these days we can do meaningful research quickly and efficiently with the simple click of a mouse. This is for the most part a very positive thing, but you have to be aware of websites claiming that estate planning is as simple as filling in the blanks on a generic template. The fact is that there can be multiple documents involved, and every jurisdiction has different expectations. There is no one-size-fits-all estate plan, and because estate planning is an important legal matter it is something that should be engaged in with the assistance of an experienced legal professional.
In addition, the digital age has presented some opportunities for the unscrupulous, and our nation’s seniors are often prime targets. There are always enumerable Internet scams circulating at any given time, and as most of us are well aware identity theft is a big problem these days. Senior citizens are especially attractive to identity thieves because many of them have very good credit and own their own homes outright, and some may not be especially Internet savvy so they may not pick up on what is taking place until it is too late.
Another element to the digital age that impacts estate planning is the fact that many people do their banking online, and a lot of people have online brokerage accounts. When you are inventorying your assets and preparing to pass them along to your loved ones you must make sure that you provide access to these accounts by sharing your username and password. In addition, you have to consider things like your PayPal account and your eBay account if you have them. Then there are social networks like Facebook and Twitter, and you may have a blog or a website that would need to be tended to or liquidated so you must provide the login information so that they can be accessed.
There is a lot take into consideration when you are planning your estate in the information age, and the best way to make sure that all of your bases are covered is to develop a relationship with an experienced estate planning attorney.
Mr. Kraft assists clients primarily in the areas of estate planning and administration, Medicaid planning, federal and state taxation, real estate and corporate law, bringing the added perspective of an accounting background to his work.