If I am a trustee, what do I do with the digital assets of the decedent if there are no instructions left?

This is a common question that many trustees ask me. Most trustees worry about what to do with these digital assets if no instructions are left. If you are in this situation, there are some action steps you may want to consider:

  • Access contact lists, e-mail accounts and social media accounts and notify friends who the deceased would want to be notified.
  • Locate all the financial information and inventory it.
  • Remove credit card information from shopping accounts.
  • Do not start shutting down accounts or taking drastic steps until you have a good sense of the individual's presence and what should ultimately be done with it.
  • Make copies of all hard drives, flash drives and other data and keep them in a safe place.

This list is a starting point. It is not designed to be all-inclusive. If you have questions, you should consult with an estate planning attorney.