Winn Beaudry & Winn
Newsletter from Winn, Beaudry & Winn, Attorneys at Law
Issue 16
March, 2016  
Ward Beaudry
G. Ward Beaudry
Access to Digital Life Is Critical After Death
   The current brouhaha over Apple's refusal to provide a hack into its own encryption system reminds me of the importance of passing on authority for access to the digital records of our own lives.
    Rather than forcing someone to "hack" into your digital life, it is much easier on your family and loved ones to plan ahead and create some method of passing on your important data, and also making it clear who has authority to gain access.
   It was straightforward, if not easy, not that many years ago. All you had to do was set up a paper filing system and then faithfully put the statements from banks, brokerages, insurance companies, etc. in their appropriate files. The executor assigned by your will and/or trust just had to open the file drawer and start looking.
   Today, it depends on the degree to which you have gone "paperless," and some of you have gone "all the way." Without a physical record, it is possible to leave those behind you in the virtual dark as to your assets, or at least their location.

What of Your Life Is Online?
   A good place to start is an inventory of digital assets. Include how and where they are held, along with user names, passwords and password Locked Memory Stick Image prompts.  They can be written down, but then there is the security issue of where to keep (hide?) them and also the issue of updating passwords, which often change frequently. Some accounts require a change of passwords after a predetermined period of time.
   One option is a password management program, a solution developed for current technology. It is like an online safety deposit box. These systems can store your information online and provide a way to pass it on to one or more people in the event of death or incapacity. A top-rated program is Dashlane. You can find a current review of this and other similar programs here at PC Magazine. Some of these programs, particularly the ones you pay for rather than the free version, also memorize new user names and passwords automatically as they are input. If you change a password, the program automatically updates your files. Either way, you only have to remember (and pass along) one password to get into the system.

Who Decides Access?
   Access to your digital life is actually a two-step process: you must provide the information to get in (usernames, passwords, etc.) but you also must provide the legal authority to gain access. The legal access issue is where your will and/or trust rule. Those documents should ultimately control who should inherit assets, not the online service provider.
   Your online existence can carry on after you are deceased. Those of you who use Facebook might have noticed a birthday reminder for a deceased Facebook "friend." You can also get those automated "suggestions" from Facebook, LinkedIn and other sites to connect with those you know are deceased. Make sure that whoever does your estate plan includes a method to shut down your digital life within an appropriate time after your death.

A Document that Helps
   We have developed a document that clearly assigns access to your digital life. Call me and we can discuss its use for you.
   For a more detailed discussion of this issue, read this article in Probate & Property magazine. It's written for lawyers, but the information is useful for everyone.

   I'm always ready to take your call or respond to your email about this and other issues related to your estate planning.
 (888) 330-1467 or (214) 969-0001

Essential Documents for Seniors


  • Medical Power of Attorney: Allows someone to speak for you to medical professionals if you are incapacitated.
  • Durable Power of Attorney: Allows someone to speak for you on financial and other non-medical issues.
  • Advance Directive: Lists detailed preferences for medical treatment if incapacitated.
  • Will DocumentWill and/or Trust: Specifies how you want certain assets distributed after death.
  • HIPPA: Allows access to your medical records.
    Excerpted from Learn more here.
   Competent advice is just a phone call away. 
               - Ward  
Caregivers Need Care, Too
Asking for Help is Smart
   Tens of millions of Americans are providing regular care for aging family members and friends. Many of these caregivers are raising children and building careers at the same time. 
    Regardless of age and family situation, caregivers face similar challenges. Many need reminding that assistance is available and accepting it is not a sign of weakness or defeat. Rather, it is a sign of Help Button Imagegood judgment. It indicates an ingrained sense of responsibility and commitment to a loved one's wellbeing.
    Caregivers frequently embark on this journey alone or become isolated by their responsibilities. It does not have to be that way, nor should it. People bearing and accepting the responsibility for the care of a loved one in ill health deserve a cohesive support system to help them through this process. Achieving a balance between selflessness and self-preservation is possible.
   Adequate planning for long term care can be a simple first step.


For assistance with any elderly care issues, please contact Mr. Beaudry at 214-969-0001 or by email at

G. Ward Beaudry, Esq.       
      View my profile on LinkedIn                                                


4200 Thanksgiving Tower
1601 Elm Street
Dallas, Texas 75201-7203

Telephone: 214-969-0001

This E-letter is intended to stimulate thought and discussion, and to provide you with some useful ideas and guidance in the areas of estate planning and business law. The materials and comments made herein do not constitute and should not be treated as legal advice regarding the use of any particular estate or business planning or other technique, device or suggestion or any of the tax or other consequences associated with them. Although we have made every effort to ensure the accurancy of this information, Winn, Beaudry & Winn does not assume any responsibility for any individual's reliance on the information presented in this document. Each reader should verify independently all statements made in this E-letter before applying them to a particular situation and should determine independently the tax and other consequences of using any particular device, technique or suggestion before recommending it to others. 


The information contained in this electronic message is legally privileged and confidential under applicable law and the information may be protected from disclosure under the Attorney-Client Privilege and/or the Attorney Work Product Privilege. This electronic message is intended only for the use of the individual(s) or entity named above. If the recipient of this message is not the above-named intended recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination, copy or disclosure of this communication is strictly prohibited and may carry criminal and/or civil penalties and civil liabilities for unauthorized disclosure, dissemination or copying. If you have received this communication in error, please notify Winn, Beaudry & Winn at (214) 969-0001 and purge the communication immediately from your computer system without making any copy or distribution.

Treasury Circular 230 Required Statements:


Tax practitioners authorized to practice before the Internal Revenue Service are subject to the requirements of "Circular 230" (31 CFR part 10), as published by the Treasury Department.  The Treasury Department has made significant changes to Circular 230, effective June 20, 2005, that affect the form and content of tax advice that we provide. In order to comply with these new changes, while minimizing the cost to our clients, we are including the following statements in all of our e-mail communications.  If you have any question about the statements, please do not hesitate to contact the sender.

1. Any tax advice contained in this e-mail (including any attachments) was not intended or written by the sender of this e-mail to be used, and cannot be used by the recipient or any other person, for the purpose of avoiding any Internal Revenue Code penalties that may be imposed on such person. 

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In This Issue



Important Reasons for an Estate Plan 


Forbes magazine had a good discussion on reasons to have an estate plan.  After-death considerations are an obvious reason, but there are lifetime considerations as well. Read the article here.



Back on the Bike
Solvang Photo  
I'm headed back to California next week to participate in the week-long Carmichael Training Camp for cyclists. You might recall that this is where I crashed riding down a mountain road last year when I failed to control my speed. I'm on a new bike this year with disc brakes, so I should have ample stopping power. The week will conclude with my participation in the 100-mile ride in the gorgeous Solvang, CA, area. Wish me luck!
Ward is repeatedly honored as a top lawyer in Texas by multiple organizations

Super Lawyer
Fellow-American Bar Foundation  
Among G. Ward Beaudry's qualifications

- Accredited by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs 
 - Member, National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys
 - Member, College of the State Bar of Texas 




Thanksgiving Tower 
Thanksgiving Tower