Taking Electronic Passwords to the Grave

Attorneys advising clients on estate planning should ask them to determine who they want to have access to their computers when they die. So starts an article with a whole new concept for me.  And a great new tool for marketing in your Estate Planning or even General Practice law firm.

As noted by Ernie, the Attorney, “… that’s exactly what San Francisco-based estate planning attorney Michael Blacksburg does. “I advise clients to put all their passwords to things online in an estate planning document,” he said.

Blacksburg also asks his clients what they want to have happen with their electronic media, like music in iTunes and photos in Shutterfly.

“The older generation is just getting in the habit of using computers,” Blacksburg said. This problem will become more acute in coming years as more and more people become computer savvy, he added.

The situation poses a dilemma for e-mail providers that are pilloried by privacy rights advocates at the mere suggestion of sensitive data being exposed, at the same time they are expected to hand over the digital keys to family members when a customer dies.

Last year, Yahoo was forced to provide access to the e-mail of a U.S. Marine killed in Iraq to his father, who got a court order in the matter.


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