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Two axioms that we estate planning attorneys know only too well are that “no one knows his expiration date,” and “no one checks out leaving a clean desk.” However, you should still leave an estate plan that your executor and heirs can use to finalize your affairs. You also need to designate a personal representative who can oversee your affairs even if you’re incapacitated. Here are six reasons why a very key component of your estate plan is a current list of passwords and accounts to manage your digital identity.
1. Online orders: If you have standing repeat orders for items such as pet supplies or your favorite bagels, keep previous invoices to help your personal representative cancel the orders.
2. Online banking and autopay bills: In most cases, utilities, insurance premiums, car, and mortgage payments need to be kept paid if you are incapacitated. In the case of your demise though, certain payments will need to be canceled. Leave details with your papers.
3. Social media accounts: You can now designate someone to oversee these accounts in their settings.
4. Online access to financial accounts and health insurance: A durable power of attorney helps, but having the company names, accounts, passwords, and type of account will help, especially if needed for your care.
5. Two-step encryption: This security tool is used increasingly to thwart hackers of online services. Make sure your personal representative’s email and cell phone are set up as options within the accounts.
6. Device Passwords: When one 45-year-old died unexpectedly, her executor was left with a smartphone full of photos that are not accessible and a two-month-old tablet that cannot be re-used. Ten months later, the executor is still trying to get these devices unlocked through the manufacturers so that they can be cleaned and resold.
If you are a very private person, store this information in a sealed envelope with your personal representative or executor right along with your Durable Power of Attorney, Healthcare Directive, and Last Will. And be sure to update the info regularly. You’ll have the peace of mind that your affairs will be easier to manage for your personal presentative or executor.
Partner at Holliman & Holliman, PLLC
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