Thoughts about Estate Assist, a “digital safe deposit box”

Online Safe Deposit Box & Digital Estate Planning - Estate Assist 2014-10-06 18-01-36

A few days ago, I caught a story about a new internet startup called Estate Assist:

Woody Levin watched his family, a family full of lawyers, scramble to find his grandmother’s assets and info right after she had passed. He started thinking about his own life and the kinds of digital assets Millennials will leave behind. That gave him the idea to create a digital safe deposit box for all assets, both online and off.

His company, Estate Assist, launches out of beta today. It’s aim is to help you store all your online passwords, social media accounts, digital health records, bank info and other paperwork. This is different from other companies offering online estate assistance. Much of this is actually a paid service involving a law firm and does not include online stored access to accounts.

The site works by informing whichever loved ones you choose that the account exists. It will release information about all your accounts and digital paperwork as soon as this person can verify you’ve passed.

Sarah Buhr, TechCrunch

In theory, this is a useful idea – there is so much information gathering required when someone dies. Most people probably aren’t concerned about access to social media accounts, but bank, retirement and other financial account data is critical when attempting to determine probate options.

Security and privacy notwithstanding, it raises questions specific to Florida residents about the accuracy of the information stored.

How effective is a “digital safe deposit box” for the survivors of a deceased Florida resident?

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