Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Your Assets (including digital)



Monetary Assets, Sentimental Assets and Digital Assets
What should you include in your Last Will and Testament and Power of Attorney documents?
For years, you have heard that you need the following documents:
  • Power of Attorney for Personal Care
  • Power of Attorney for Property
  • Last Will and Testament
Through the Power of Attorney documents, you grant the ability of a named alternate to make decisions on your behalf should you not be capable of making them while you are alive. Information about these documents can be found on the Government of Ontario website.  
Your Last Will and Testament is a written document that sets out your wishes about how your estate should be taken care of and distributed after your death. It takes effect when you die. The Government of Ontario website is a great resource.  
Traditionally, Power of Attorney for Property and Last Wills and Testament only dealt with real assets. What if you only do electronic banking or get all of your bills each month as e-bills or you have a Netflix or other monthly electronic subscription?
I don't know about you, but I inherited a box of family photos when my parents died. Most of my photos are stored electronically - either on a hard drive or in the cloud. I also have Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter accounts, a web site, and many other online footprints.
Can the person that you name as Power of Attorney for Property or Executor of your Will access all of these accounts? Do they have access to all of your Usernames and Passwords? Do they know if you want these accounts closed or maintained?
To ensure that you have the proper documentation, you should consult with an attorney and ensure that all of your documentation is up to date.
For more information, you may want to check out this article on the Manulife web site put together by their Tax, Retirement and Estate Planning Services Group.