Although it’s not a pleasant subject, wouldn’t it be great to know that if something tragic happened to you, your loved ones would know how to handle your affairs? I’ve written previously about creating an estate plan, but I’ve invited my colleague Judith Kolberg to share her wisdom on an often overlooked aspect of estate planning – your digital estate:
Although it’s not my role to give you specific advice about your estate, I would like to tell you a story as a way of introducing you to digital estate planning:
My client Maxine died suddenly. I was helping organize her digital and tangible documents. Maxine’s executor notified the banks and other financial institutions of her death. But figuring out the passwords, user codes and security questions needed to access Maxine’s accounts took weeks of hard work to untangle. And just when the family thought the estate was well on its way being settled, digital assets emerged. There was a web-only checking account Maxine had in the cloud with no paper trail, and a PayPal account without any hardcopy statements.
We all have tangible and digital assets and information. I read about a man who owned a “digital sword” he purchased for $17,000 to play high-stakes, international video games – legally it was considered an estate asset. I’d like to suggest that this year you:
- Create a password-protected document (like an Excel spreadsheet) of your login information so your executor and family can settle your account with less fuss and muss. In addition to your online accounts, consider “invisible” (web-only) accounts, including checking and savings accounts, investment and insurance accounts, as well as other places money might be stowed, like PayPal accounts.
Click here for a link to my newsletter to read more about planning your digital estate.
Wishing you simplicity, harmony and freedom,