Digital estate planning has become more of a necessity in the past few years with the emergence of the Internet and growing online presence. Nowadays, almost every individual has at least one online account, whether it is social media, e-mail or online banking. Have you every asked yourself what will happen to these online accounts when you pass away? This is an important question to ask as many of these accounts have personal information and/or auto payments that will need to be administered along with other assets.
In general, your estate plan consists of your declaration of health care surrogate, living will, durable power of attorney, last will and testament and in some cases a revocable living trust. Digital estate planning assets consist of online accounts such as banking, Facebook and Twitter, credit cards and could even include online shopping accounts such as amazon. Failure to inventory these assets may lead to your estate incurring unauthorized charges after your death and/or make it extremely difficult for your personal representative to access such accounts.
By creating a digital estate plan, you can help your family by:
- Locate any accounts you have online;
- Access those accounts or the information in those accounts;
- Safeguard online data from hackers;
- Attach financial value to your digital property; and/or
- Distribute and/or transfer any digital assets to designated beneficiaries parties.
The first step to creating a digital estate plan is to itemize all of your online accounts and then inventory usernames and passwords (including recovery password information). Remember that your e-mail is the center of most of your accounts; therefore, it is most important to inventory your e-mail credentials. Next, you must choose a safe place for such data. This could include a safety deposit box, a personal safe or submitting the information directly to your personal representative. Having this information documented will allow your estate to bypass the problems of accessing your online accounts and make the probate process easier.
Contact the Attorneys of The Noble Law Firm, P.A. to assist you with your estate planning and/or probate needs.