Executors of estates often find themselves in thankless roles. Often, they have to bear the brunt of any disgruntled relatives or beneficiaries while also working to close the estate as efficiently as possible. One of their duties includes gathering and protecting the decedents' assets, and this step also needs to include addressing digital assets.
When thinking about important accounts and property, many Massachusetts residents may not immediately rank someone's email accounts among them. However, email accounts, social media accounts, shopping accounts and a number of others that parties use to live their online lives need addressing. If executors forget to close these accounts or simply think that they are not important enough to handle, they could end up allowing hackers the opportunity to use those accounts for illegal activities.
Because this troublesome scenario is one to be avoided, parties need to take the right steps to address these accounts. Of course, it is understandable if individuals do not know how to do so, especially since the accounts belong to another person. Many online service providers have instructions that can help with this step, but it may mean that an executor needs to provide documentation of authority, a copy of a death certificate or other information before the account will be closed.
While online accounts can make many aspects of life easier, they can cause complications during the probate process. Still, these assets need addressing just like any physical property. If Massachusetts executors would like more information on how digital assets play a role in closing estates, they may wish to consult with experienced attorneys.