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Probate is stressful in a digital age

On Behalf of | May 27, 2023 | Probate

close up of woman with sd memory card reader working in video editor program on laptop computer working

There may be many things you like about living in Nevada in the modern world, especially regarding devices, systems or products that make your daily life or work more convenient. A century ago, you’d wait a long time in between correspondence with someone far away. Today, you can use text messaging or virtual chatting software to instantly communicate with someone on the other side of the world. That’s convenience at its best. However, sometimes the digital age is a drawback, such as with certain issues concerning probate.

Probate is a judicial process implemented after someone dies to validate and accept his or her last will and testament as a public document. It is also a process whereby, if a decedent did not sign a will, the settling of his or her estate occurs through intestacy laws. If you want to protect your digital assets, there are several steps you can take. If you’re trying to obtain an accounting of a loved one’s estate but have encountered digital asset issues, there are several steps you can take, as well.

Make sure you understand exactly what constitutes a “digital asset”

Compiling a list of tangible possessions (i.e., a car, house, real estate, money, etc.) is a lot less complex than gathering information to form a list of digital assets. Such assets often include the items mentioned in the following list:

  • Computers
  • Tablets
  • DVDs
  • Flash drives
  • Hard drives
  • CDs
  • Memory cards
  • Software applications
  • Online accounts
  • Login information

This list is not extensive but provides a basic overview of the most common types of digital assets that might be relevant to a person’s estate.

Numerous estate planning documents can help protect your assets

To protect digital assets in a Nevada estate plan, you can incorporate many of the same legal documents you would use for tangible possessions. Such documents include a last will and testament, a revocable or irrevocable trust, an advance directive or power of attorney. Additionally, it’s helpful to seek legal guidance when you’ve encountered digital asset issues in an estate plan. This can help de-stress the situation and ensure that you accomplish your goals.

You might think it’s okay to simply access your loved one’s online accounts or other digital assets after he or she passes away, but, even if you have the passwords and login information, doing this can spark a lot of legal trouble. It’s far better to defer to someone who is well-versed in Nevada estate planning and probate laws to help resolve a particular issue.