Most of the possessions people had were physical. It was, therefore, very easy to keep track of physical property of any value. Even financial accounts had paper trails that were normally not too difficult to find.
Today, however, things are different.
A large share of important business is now conducted exclusively online. There might not be much of a paper trail for an estate executor to find, as the Times Standard recently discussed in "You and the Law: Planning for the expected unexpected."
The problem is that if no one knows that a digital account exists and whether you own any digital property, then they might not even know to look for it.
Even if they had a vague notion that you have digital items of value, it would be difficult to even know where to look to find it.
Technology companies make it even more difficult, since they are loathe to provide any information about their customers, even after their customers are deceased.
Someone might know to check your email for any account information, but they would have a difficult time accessing that email.
To avoid these problems, estate planning is even more important than it was previously.
With an estate plan, you can make a list about what digital accounts you have and how to access them.
That does not solve all possible problems, but it is an important first step.
Reference: Times Standard (July 31, 2017) "You and the Law: Planning for the expected unexpected."