Chances are, you may have dozens (if not hundreds) of online accounts. Some accounts may be logins simply for ordering purposes, but others may have important and significant value. What happens to all this when you die? The answer completely depends on how you prepare now.
Online digital assets and accounts are a significant part of our lives but communicating how your trustee or personal representative is to access this content after death is largely unaddressed unless you take the time to document the information. Start with a simple spreadsheet and indicate where it is stored on your computer and where it’s backed up (if at all). Include all pertinent information (account number, username, password, security questions and answers) for any accounts you access online (think bank accounts, utilities, investment accounts, social media, your blog or website). Remember, some online accounts can incur automatic fees, which will pile up if not addressed soon after death.
Also, and most importantly, provide the username and password of each computer you own (including access codes for smartphones), email addresses and passwords, personal information such as social security number and birthdate, access to the safe if you have one, and contact information for your accountant, attorney and other trusted professionals.
The task may seem daunting, but it’s well worth documenting this information, printing it out and storing it in a secure place where your trusted people know where to find it. If the number of accounts is overwhelming, start with the most important and work through your online digital life over time. And remember to keep the document updated as you change information.
When creating estate plans
for our clients, the attorneys of Wright Beamer strive to cover all bases, including the handling of digital assets. If you have questions about how to get started or if it's time to review your current plan, call our office at (248) 477-6300.