Many aspects of our lives are now online.
When one becomes disabled or dies, access to personal or financial online accounts and contacts can be lost or are of little value if a family member doesn’t know of their existence. Even if they have account information, access can be problematic.
As businesses move away from paper, it becomes more difficult to locate and access online information, especially if someone dies without sharing this information. Most internet companies have strict privacy policies that might complicate internet access, which will delay the release of username and password information without a fight.
Consider giving your heirs (or someone you trust) access to information that may be stored online, such as photographs, videos, letters, etc. These things may not have monetary value but may be priceless to loved ones. This includes e-mail accounts, online banks and brokerages, automatic bill-paying arrangements, and Facebook, Linked-In or Twitter pages.
As our computer literate population ages, lawsuits after disability or death are likely to increase and could end up forcing family members to unnecessarily deal with these issues.
So, in preparing your estate planning documents consider who will have access to your computer and online passwords.