One aspect of estate planning that is usually overlooked is digital accounts. Your digital legacy will not mean much to you after death, but could impact your family and friends. If you are concerned with how your digital legacy is handled, you need an executor who can take care of those accounts for you.
Most people today have at least one social networking account. Companies, such as Facebook and LinkedIn, have policies regarding accounts of the deceased, but in many instances, the accounts remain active.
If your social networking account has private conversations that you would prefer others not to see, leave instructions for an executor to delete them. Remember to leave the login information for all of the accounts with an estate planning attorney (such as Stuart W. Moskowitz, Esq., CPA) so the executor can access them.
Some email providers offer the ability to have an email auto sent to a person you choose after a period of inactivity. If your email provider offers this feature, be sure to set it up. Inform the executor of what you want him or her to do with the account once the provider emails the password.
You could choose to have the account completely deleted or choose to archive the emails contained. You can also leave instructions to have the emails printed and shown to family members.
Online Selling Accounts
If you have a merchant account with a site such as eBay, you can leave instructions on how to handle your account. For instance, you could instruct the executor to fulfill an outstanding order or refund money.
You can also choose to pass off the running of your selling accounts to someone else. If you have chosen to do this, your estate planning attorney can help you include this in your will and help you take care of the documentation to ensure that it is properly transferred to the person you choose.
Online Financial Accounts Many people manage their financial and utility accounts online. If you are one of them, you need to leave login information for the executor of your estate to access those accounts.
Not only does leaving the information help your executor gain access to the accounts, but it gives him or her a chance to pay off outstanding bills and gain account information that is needed for other matters.
You are not legally required to leave information about your digital legacy, but it can be helpful for family and friends who are trying to take care of your estate. In many instances, a simple letter with all of the information needed will suffice.