Our generation has entered a new age of “digital assets.” We use our computers, websites and software quite often. And with such use comes the need for a “plan” for them after your death. Failure to plan ahead may prevent your family and friends from obtaining photos or settling your final bills. Your family will need to get access to these accounts and also protect your estate from post-mortem identify theft
What are Digital Assets?
- Email Accounts
- Bank Accounts
- Brokerage Accounts
- Linked-in, or Business Social Media
- Tax preparation sites and other software
- Social Networking Sites
- Auto Payments
- Passwords to all devices and sites
- Data Storage Sites
- Your Website or Blog
How Can I Better Protect Myself?
It is recommended that you store all of your important Digital Asset log-in, passcodes, and security questions in an Estate Plan Organizer and place them in a location where your Personal Representative my find them. To keep your list secure, you may find it useful to use a password-management site such as 1Password, or store them on a password-protected file on your own computer. It is important to write down where you have stored your information, along with the password, and make sure your Personal Representative can find the information.
Keep in mind that many online sites have specific agreements prohibiting the “handing-off” of your accounts to another. However, I did note that Facebook added a new feature where you may designate another Facebook friend to either have a tribute site for you, or close the account.
Talk to an Estate Planning attorney about how to best protect yourself, including adding authorization provisions to your Last Will and Testament and obtaining a Durable Power of Attorney with the power to access digital assets set forth. When your Loved Ones are dealing with a loss, anything we can do to help them in the process will likely be much appreciated.