As our financial and social lives go digital, it’s becoming more important to think about how loved ones can access accounts in the event that you can’t. The first step is taking inventory, and setting a time to review regularly.
“So perhaps you think about it once a year,” says Rachel Sheedy with Kiplinger. “An annual inventory check at tax time might be a good time to think about doing that.”
People often have more accounts than they realize. Once you have all your accounts in one place, make a roadmap. List all your accounts, usernames and passwords. Experts say don’t put any sensitive information in your will.
“If you’re writing a will, in the will indicate that a roadmap exists and where to find it but don’t put passwords or usernames in a will,” Sheedy says. “That’s a public document.”
Some internet companies including Google and Facebook already have built-in features to control data after death. Cryptocurrency such as Bitcoin can be lost for good if you don’t leave instructions on how to access the private key.
If you need some help getting organized, EverPlans and TrustedHeir are among the companies that specialize in digital estate planning.
A password manager can make things easier by storing logins and passwords all in one place.
“Your heir would get access to the password manager and that can be one way to streamline the process,” Sheedy says.
Many states have passed a uniform law that greatly increases individuals’ ability to control what happens to their digital assets after they die.
To learn more, head to UniformLaws.org