How do I handle digital accounts in my estate plan?

On Behalf of | Oct 12, 2020 | Estate Planning | 0 comments

Given the frequent use of digital online accounts in modern society, it is likely you have an email account, a social media account and perhaps an online banking account. These assets are valuable to you, which is why you should consider what might happen if you were to die or if you became disabled and could no longer control your accounts.

Like anything that you own, you may address who should get your online accounts through your estate planning documents. You may also use other means to give your relatives access to your documents so they can use them in an emergency. Kiplinger explains three ways that you might handle transferring control of your online accounts to designated individuals.

Allowing your POA to access your accounts

People use power of attorney documents to appoint somebody to handle their financial matters in the event an injury or illness incapacitates them. However, your POA may have problems performing his or her duty without your emails or online documents. Consider making a provision for your POA to have access to your digital assets, or at least the ones you feel your POA should access.

Leaving a list of your digital accounts

You might wonder why you would need to take legal measures to transfer your accounts when you can just leave your spouse or children a list of your accounts with the accompanying passwords. The problem is that somebody might find your list and gain access to your accounts. Also, you are likely to change your passwords frequently. This is an easy way to make your list useless. If you do make a password list, consider how you may keep it secure and as updated as possible.

Appointing someone to manage your accounts

There are many online account providers that allow you to appoint someone to get into your account and manage it in the event you die or become disabled. Check to see if your account qualifies for one of these appointments. Also check with your provider to learn how your appointed person must prove that you have died or suffered incapacitation. You do not want your children or your spouse to have issues gaining access to your online accounts.