Today Entrustet announced a new service, the Entrustet Digital Property Search. Traditionally Entrustet has focused on pre-need digital estate planning services, but this announcement marks a shift in that focus as they add this new at-need offering. Essentially you can provide their automated system with the email addresses of the decedent, and their tool scours the Web for lost or forgotten accounts.
“Ever since we launched our Account Guardian service, we’ve gotten emails, blog comments and phone calls from families of recently deceased or estate planning lawyers going through probate,” said Nathan Lustig, co-founder of Entrustet. “They always asked us for help for their clients who didn’t preplan. After about the 10th call, we decided we really needed to do something and the Digital Property Report came out of it.”
This is only the second offering we’ve seen in this space for families of the deceased seeking to discover and access their online accounts. The other is Digital Estate Services, a New York-based company that’s essentially a locksmith for digital devices and online accounts.
The announcement cited the cast of a 42-year-old individual who passed away suddenly. The report generated “16 online accounts that otherwise would have been lost, including a business domain name that was set to expire in 30 days.”
The information is pulled solely from publicly-available sources. To avoid any security concern caused by aggregating this information, the report is only available to attorneys, family members or executors. The requester required to provide an obituary to Entrustet as proof of death.
From our perspective, this is a welcome service, especially considering that many executors are not technically savvy and unable to search for this information on their own. That said, our advice at The Digital Beyond is to tread carefully when exploring online accounts of the deceased, especially if their wishes are not clearly expressed.