You’ve got your will ready, you’ve picked someone to hold your powers of attorney and you filled out a living will. You’ve checked to make sure that proper beneficiaries are listed on all of your insurance policies and investments. Maybe you even have a trust.
Now, what about your digital assets?
If you’re like most people in this country, you have a significant online presence — even if you don’t realize it.
Your digital assets are any online accounts that you use that require a password. That includes everything from your bank account to your eBay account, as well as everything that you have in cloud storage, such as the pictures that get backed up on your iPhone.
You also probably have something called digital liabilities, which include any automatic payments. These may include utility bills, credit card bills and charges for something like Hulu or Netflix.
Why is it important to give your heirs this information?
Firstly, it’s a practical concern. Right after your death, your heirs will be dealing with a number of important practical concerns, including the disposition of your remains. They’ll also be struggling with their grief. It won’t be a good time for them to try to sort out what automatic payments have been coming out of your accounts — if they can even get access to them.
There’s also an emotional concern. Without your passcode to your Facebook account, for example, your loved ones may be forced to see daily reminders that are painful to them. Without access to your cloud storage, precious family photos with you in them may be lost.
The modern era has crept up on a lot of people. If you think that your estate plans may be missing something, maybe it’s time to review them and add a few details — including plans for your digital assets.