According to an article titled “Advanced Planning for your Online Life”, from Senior Planet, “Today’s seniors are more digitally connected than ever, with some estimating that as many as 34% of Americans (65 and above) use social networking sites” (Singh). Even beyond social media, think of all the accounts you may have accounts with. I’d venture to guess you may have an email, possibly a paypal, online shopping accounts, etc. For the estate planning field, your online and technology assets are as real as your shoes and socks, and planning around these digital assets has become increasingly important to consider. Just like your shoes and socks, at Family Estate Planning Law Group, we’ll make sure your personal things go to the right people, however your shoes and socks are most likely not password protected and hold sensitive information.
It may not seem like an important consideration now, after all you may only use a site like Facebook to check in with your loved ones, however even an account that you don’t post personal information with that often, still has a great deal of sensitive information about you. Protecting and having a plan for your social media and technology accounts is as important as having a plan for your bank accounts.
Not to mention, the implications of not leaving that information behind, mean’s a complicated journey for your loved ones. “When my grandpa passed away in February, he didn’t leave a ‘will’ or any information related to his important documents or online investments and accounts. All we had was a book with a personal note to his grandkids. We had to undergo vigorous procedures to retrieve grandpa’s social media accounts and yet terms and conditions were roadblocks in our pursuit to find vital information,” author Singh writes concerning her own personal experience with how difficult this process can be. It can be tricky enough to deal with institutions that have your money, such as banks or other financial institutions, but getting your information safe and secure from online websites could take a very long time, and there is a risk involved in not securing these things.
All of that can sound alarming, however it really is quite simple to take care of. By keeping a list of all the accounts you have, with passwords and usernames, and making sure that’s passed along to the right people, that can mitigate most of the problem at hand. For a more detailed list of practical ways to take care of various types of accounts, see this article by Senior Planet.
To learn more about how Family Estate Planning Law Group can be there for you as you age and more about our unique estate planning process, explore our blog and visit our website to schedule your free consultation today!
-Written by Rachel Hicks from Family Estate Planning Law Group.