Wasn’t it Benjamin Franklin who said the only things that are certain are taxes and death? Most people have a system for dealing with taxes. Death we’d rather not think about.
Estate planning used to mean you had a will and a trust. Today most people's assets include some digital ones. There's email accounts, online banking, social media, photos hosted online or a blog.
It may seem trivial if your Facebook page remains active after you die. There are some more serious concerns to think about. Do you receive bills electronically? Who needs access to your email and e-banking accounts to pay them when you can't? Your family or colleagues may need access to details of your cyber life.
Do you have a plan for your digital, financial or intellectual property after you're gone? Perhaps you have a spreadsheet with account usernames, passwords, and secret questions. I use a secure app, 1Password to store mine. I couldn’t live without it - no pun intended.
A list of passwords is better than nothing. But imagine your grieving loved ones closing your accounts. Many companies have unclear policies about who has account access after a death. The methods vary widely. Under the best circumstances, it will be time consuming.
Have you given thought to this topic? There are a few forward-thinking businesses that have. Password Box and Secure Safe offer varying levels of identity and account management. Some have free limited versions. Others charge a monthly or annual fee to securely manage your digital assets.
You decide what happens to your accounts when you die. That could mean closing accounts automatically, transferring control to someone you chose or a combination. Once they verify your death, they implement the plan you outlined.
The services do more than store your passwords and account numbers. You can upload digital copies of documents. Think of these services as a digital safety deposit box. It's a useful tool to keep track of important information that is accessible online.
Not many prepare for the worst. Planning for your death could have the added benefit. Imagine getting more organized while you're still using your digital accounts.
Have you outlined a plan for your digital assets? I would love to hear what you're doing or questions you have.