Estate planning, while not an easy topic for most is essential in ensuring that your family is taken care of and your financial wishes are met, after you pass. These preemptive plans play an important role in reducing confusion for loved ones, especially in the digital age.
The first step in planning for your online accounts after death should be to take inventory of your digital assets. These assets can include:
- Online bank accounts
- Customer profiles with home health agencies
- e-mail accounts
- Social media platforms
- Digital photo storage accounts
- eBay or other online auction accounts
- Brokerage accounts
- Frequent Flyer accounts
- Electronic devices (e-reader, tablet, cell phone, computer)
Anything digital that completes the story of your personal, professional and financial life should be included in your list.
Next, you’ll want to be sure to include usernames and up-to-date passwords to your electronics, bank accounts, utility accounts, email accounts and any other online accounts you deem important. It may seem easy enough for your loved ones to step in and begin to manage your accounts, however federal and state laws created to guard against things like identity theft and fraud, can inadvertently work against loved ones trying to access your digital assets.
Don’t underestimate the sentimental and financial value digital accounts hold for your loved ones. Give yourself (and family members) peace of mind by including your digital property in the estate planning process.
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