Times have changed when it comes to the way that we communicate with others, pay our bills, and store information. There was once a time when people would keep all the information that their executors would need in a locked filing cabinet and make the keys available.
Clearly, paper documents can still be part of the equation, but there is now a digital component as well. In this post, we will provide some food for thought with regard to the steps that you can take to address your digital life when you are planning your estate.
Make a List of Relevant Accounts
It is important to provide your executor with access to accounts that will be relevant during the estate administration process. This would include usernames and passwords for email addresses, website hosts, your PayPal Account, and virtual assets like cyber-cash, domain names, etc.
Many people conduct all of their banking online, including credit card accounts and investments. You should certainly explain all of the relevant details to your executor or the trustee of your trust.
Along these lines, there are legal consent documents that must be executed to grant your representative access to certain accounts. You can drill down when it comes to providing access; you don’t have to give sweeping authority to all fiduciaries that could be involved.
In addition to accounts that are dynamic in nature, if you are like most Internet savvy individuals, you have probably stored important documents that you have scanned. These may include insurance policies, your birth certificate, marriage and divorce documents, tax records, and titles to property, just to name a handful.
You can store this information in the cloud in one secure place, and there are companies that specialize in this service. If you make all of the information available in one convenient location, the estate administrator will have easy access, and this will streamline the process.
Social Media Accounts
Another piece to the electronic puzzle is the management of social media accounts. These accounts should be listed for your executor as well, and you can communicate the way that you would like them to be handled after your passing.
You can have them deleted by simply providing the login info. If this is not done, an estate representative could present a death certificate and proof of authorization to gain access to the accounts.
Of course, if you want to give a willing person the authority to keep the account active, this would be possible. It should be noted that Facebook offers a memorialization option that allows existing friends to continue to access the account, but no one would be able to log into it as a user.
Attend an Upcoming Workshop
Since you are on this website, you are likely looking for information about estate planning, and you are more than welcome to explore all of our written resources. You can also take advantage of some opportunities that are coming up in the future to interact with us in person.
Our attorneys are offering a series of free seminars in the coming weeks, and they cover a lot of ground in a relatively short amount of time. Attendees consistently give us very positive feedback, and this is quite gratifying. If you would like to join us for one of these sessions, visit our seminar schedule page to obtain registration information.
Schedule a Consultation!
If you are ready to take the next step, our doors are wide open. You can request a consultation appointment at one of our North Carolina offices right now if you give us a call at 704-944-3245 (Charlotte, NC and Huntersville, NC). In the great commonwealth of Kentucky, the number is 606-324-5516 for our Ashland, KY office or (859) 372-6655 for our Florence, KY office, and there is a contact form on this website that you can use if you would prefer to reach out electronically.