An often overlooked aspect of your estate plan is leaving behind the details of your digital world. We often think about leaving behind information on burial and funeral instructions, financial paperwork, prenuptial agreements, and even safe deposit boxes and home safe combinations, but an often overlooked piece is leaving behind information concerning your logins and passwords for online accounts that you are leaving behind or even those that you share with a spouse or business partner.
Its not uncommon for one spouse or partner to handle the financial aspects of your shared life – and for the other spouse or partner to be completely clueless on how to access online accounts, pay online bills, and otherwise manage your financial affairs. Its even more difficult for children and other family members to know how to access this information – or even what to look for. This information is critical not only at your death but also in the event of your incapacity. Making a list of online accounts, logins and passwords, and keeping it up-to-date, is a key aspect of today’s estate plan. Giving access to that list to the fiduciaries you’ve selected to help you in your Will or Trust and Power of Attorney is just as important. At a minimum you need to give your fiduciaries details on where to find this information when it is needed. Some clients leave an envelope with these details in their safe deposit box with their estate planning documents. Others share it openly during their lifetimes. But the vast majority overlook it altogether.
In this era when far fewer records are kept on paper, if you want to ease the burden for those you leave behind, address this important aspect of your daily life in your estate plan.