Today it seems like nearly everyone has some digital presence. Whether it is Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Gmail, almost everyone has some digital assets. When you start thinking about estate planning, you probably are thinking about the distribution of your assets: your home, car, business and other belongings. But what about your digital assets? NBC Chicago reports:
So many of the things you plan to leave behind after death are obvious: real estate, money, jewelry. But increasingly, a number of your assets that aren’t so obvious need to be addressed in planning: your digital assets.
“Your Facebook account, Twitter, that kind of stuff isn’t something you typically go talk to your lawyer about,” said financial writer Katie Hill.
Still, it's an idea she recommends consumers take seriously.
Increasingly, a consumer's digital assets, from online bank accounts to frequent flier and rewards program to social media, are becoming a consideration for estate planning.
“You do want someone to handle these accounts so they’re not floating around in cyberspace for the next 20 years,” said Hill.
Just as you name an executor for tangible assets, financial advisers say you need a digital executor, too; someone who can access your accounts after death. Websites offering that type of service are popping up, though many consumers still opt for the low-tech, hard copy option.
Giving someone the ability to access your personal information can make things a lot easier for your loved ones. Imagine the headache of having to deal with every company where you had an account (Facebook, Gmail, etc.) and going through each company's different process just to get a handle on the account. This is why I suggest storing your passwords somewhere that can be accessed after you're gone. Read more about Including Passwords With Your Legacy.