Putting digital affairs in order part of estate planning process

Just as you need someone to be the executor of your estate, it’s become increasingly clear to me that the affairs of one’s digital life also need attention.

Over the past ten years or so, I’ve seen an increasing number of my clients and their parents move from ‘What’s Facebook?’ to ‘I’m on Facebook’. Social aspects aside, many of them now also manage their finances online.

I’ve seen some very frustrated clients struggling with the the issue of trying to close down or access loved ones’ passwords and accounts. And while many social media services have tools to assist loved ones close their accounts, many don’t. The issue has nonetheless grown to such an extent that it’s worth addressing.

  • Before it’s too late make a list of the online accounts your parent has –  be it financial or fun. At the same time do the same thing for yourself.
  • For all accounts, have your loved one document the login information (username and password) as well as any other account information and put it somewhere secure where it can be accessed in an emergency.
  • Next comes the important part: keep it updated.

It’s far too easy to stick these documents in a drawer and forget about them. In reality people change passwords frequently to avoid being hacked. Don’t forget to update that list.

When dealing with an estate one of the greatest sources of frustration is tracking down all this information to close off accounts. Having everything ready should be a part of every estate planning process.