A key facet of the 21st century estate planning that many people overlook is a digital estate plan. With our lives becoming more engrained in technology each day, it is important to protect these assets too!
A solid digital estate plan will lay out your digital assets- both financial and social and help your family determine if your digital property has any financial value. Some common digital financial assets are such like online bank and brokerage accounts and purchasing accounts on online markets such as Amazon, Apple, and Ebay. Digital social assets would be those that serve a more emotional significance, such as Facebook, Twitter, and blog posts. It is important to provide directions to loved ones on how to access and handle these accounts upon your death. Below are some important steps to take to ensure your digital estate plan is in order.
- Make sure to inventory your accounts. Nothing would be more stressful to your family than to have to try to track down all the possible social media pages, emails, and shopping sites you frequented. Start by working from memory to list all these websites and accounts. Keep the list near your computer or workstation. That way, when you visit one that hasn’t been listed, you can promptly write it down. Try to update this inventory once a year or whenever you change a password or open a new digital account.
- Compile you passwords and login information separately. Your will becomes a public record when you pass away, so don’t put this information in it. This could easily lead to identity theft and financial losses if it lands in the wrong hands. One option available is to store this information in a safety deposit box at your bank. An online option is storing the information on an online safe-deposit box like passwordbox.com or securesafe.com.
- Appoint your “digital executor”. Make sure this person is tech savvy and that you can trust them to carry out your wishes. In your will, be sure to give this individual authorization to access, control, or delete your accounts.
It is important to document these wishes in your will or in a codicil to your will. The best way to securely store and legally bind this critical and sensitive information is with an attorney. HoganWillig’s experienced Estate Planning and Elder Law group can help you and your family with all your planning needs. Our team utilizes a comprehensive approach to meet the individual desires of our clients. Call us today to set up an appointment with our dedicated staff at (716) 636-7600.