In a world of paperless statements, life is much less cluttered and complicated. Unless you die of course.
The digital forms of your will, finances, business, personal and administrative documents probably reside online, guarded by a complex password of your dogs name or a string of random numbers. While we congratulate you for making your password so difficult to decipher, this will one day be a major problem after you die. Often, family members are denied access or may not even know this account exists. In fact, 63 percent of people don’t know what will happen to their digital assets when they die, according to a survey by Rocket Lawyer, an online legal service.
By creating a digital estate plan you are giving your loved ones:
- Access to these accounts online,
- Ability to transfer digital assets to the appropriate parties
- Capability of determining if an account needs to be submitted to probate
- Avoiding Online Theft
In addition to your bank statements, personal and business documents, do not overlook your email accounts, online retail accounts (Paypal, Ebay or Amazon), Social Media Channels (ie. Facebook, Instgram or Twitter), Utility bills you pay online or a digital wallet.
Since most of us are cruising the web so frequently, this task appears quite daunting. We suggest that you create digital inventory overtime, keep the list close to your computer so you can continually add to it when you are reminded of a particular site. In this list, include instructions for what should happen to each account. Would you like it deactivated or allow someone to log in and use?
Once complete, keep this list in a safe spot. One option is the safety deposit box at your bank.
Lastly, it is important to name your “digital executor.” This is the person you designate to carry out your digital estate plan upon your death, ensuring that your end-of-life requests are met. Make sure this person is written in your will and is able to carry out your wishes.
Our lives are online and we must be proactive to protect those digital assets. Let your love ones grieve and celebrate your life instead of leaving them with the hassles of finding your passwords and online accounts.