Your Digital Life Might Very Well Outlast You in Virginia

Digital assets

Determining what to do with your physical property after you pass away can sometimes be difficult. However, it is nowhere near as difficult as deciding what to do with your digital property and accounts.  If you do not plan ahead, your social media and email accounts could outlive you.

Most people today have numerous online accounts. They have email accounts for work and personal use. They have accounts on sites like Facebook and Twitter. Some people also have blogs or even their own websites. If you check the privacy policies on the sites where you have accounts, you will notice that most sites will not give out any information about your accounts without your prior permission and some will not give out information without a court order.

As a recent New York Times article, How to Digitally Avoid Taking It to the Grave,” points out, if you do not plan ahead regarding how someone else can access your accounts after you pass away, then you risk the loss of those accounts. In other cases, accounts you would want to carry on might disappear. It depends on the policies of the sites where you have accounts. Some states have passed laws granting executors access to digital accounts after the owners pass away, and there is an effort underway to pass a uniform law in every state.

However, until the law catches up with today's current digital environment, you need to have a plan. At a minimum, you should make sure that a list exists of your digital accounts. You should make sure someone will be able to find the passwords for those accounts. You also need to store that information somewhere it can be found by someone you trust. This could be done by including that information in your will, but that could make updating the digital information cumbersome. You could also give that information to a trusted individual before you pass away. You do not need to tell them now what your passwords are. You just need to tell them where to find the information.

You can learn more about this topic as well as other strategies on our website under the tab entitled: estate planning in Virginia. Be sure you also sign up for our complimentary e-newsletter so that you may be informed of all the latest issues that could affect you, your loved ones and your estate planning.

Reference: New York Times (July 2, 2014) How to Digitally Avoid Taking It to the Grave



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We've been putting together as many resources as possible so that we can continue to help:

  • If you’re a current client with a signing appointment or a prospective client with a consultation and would prefer that meeting take place in your own home, we can accomplish that with a little bit of pre-planning on our part and with the addition of a laptop, smartphone, tablet or other computer in your home to facilitate this virtual meeting. For those of you that need to sign legal documents, that too can be accomplished with the use of a webcam (FaceTime etc.), so that we can witness and electronically notarize all of your important legal documents.
  • We launched the rollout of our on-demand webinar early so that new clients and our allied professionals can view the important component parts of ‘an estate plan that works’ at their convenience.  That is available on our website.
  • Live video workshops will be produced as quickly as possible and certainly ahead of our previous schedule; we will keep you posted as these events become available. Given the ‘boutique’ nature of the firm, we rarely have more than ten people in our office including team members at any one time. During this period of ‘social distancing,’ we promise to have no more than 8 people at any time.   This allows us to comply with the Governor’s directive to limit in-person gatherings.
  • The best way to communicate with us is still by phone during regular office hours of 8:30 to 5:00, Monday through Friday, or, you can email any of our team members (that is, their first name followed by @zarembalaw.com).  We will respond to these emails as quickly as possible.
  • Please continue to follow the directives of our local, state, and federal agencies. For your health and in consideration of our team who is assisting you, if you’ve scheduled an office appointment or planned to drop off paperwork and are experiencing a fever, dry cough, or shortness of breath, please contact your primary care doctor for guidance and then our office to reschedule.

Thank you, Walt and the Zaremba Team

Update to our Process

The unprecedented coronavirus pandemic has taken our entire country by surprise. We understand how difficult this time is for America’s businesses and families.  However, we believe it is vitally important that we make every effort possible to continue to offer solutions that avoid disrupting our important partnership with you, your family and friends.  As you know, estate planning is not something that should wait for a more convenient time, therefore the opportunity to address your important goals both during and after this crisis should not wait.  To that end, we have added the option of a ‘virtual consultation’ to our office process.  You will now have a choice of either meeting with us in our office or in the comfort of your own home.