The Essentials of Online Estate Planning
Hillel Presser, Author of "Financial Self-Defense," argues that
it's important to take steps to ensure someone is at the wheel when
you can no longer control your online activities. "It's important
to make sure your online bank and shopping accounts, even your social
media, can be closed out, or that your loved ones are authorized to access
them," he says.
There are many different aspects to your online existence you should take
stock of. Presser isn't just talking about your bank account and automatic
payments. There's also social media (which will live on in indefinitely
unless someone does something), photos, email, medical records and more.
If you're not proactive, it's likely that no one else will be
able to access those accounts -- by design, many sites and services do
not allow anyone but the owner to interact with the data.
So what should you do? According to Presser, here are the most important
things you should do to ensure your loved ones can access your online accounts:
Designate a digital executor. This can be the same person who is the traditional executor for your estate.
Take stock. Create a list of all of your accounts, sites and services. Have an email
folder or some other mechanism that lists all of these accounts so your
executor knows what is out there and how to get to it.
Make sure that you provide your executor with all of your usernames and passwords, as well as security answers so they can gain access.
Make sure you update your passwords and other account information, as they change, so that a trusted person
has the most updated information.
YES, YOU CAN LOSE EVERYTHING!
You may think that your wealth is safe and that you don't need protection.
But don't delude yourself and accept reality — for every 60
minutes you spend making money, spend 60 seconds thinking about how to