In an ever-increasingly connected world, we think little of creating online identities to participate on the latest social platform or reap rewards points. But, have you ever wondered what would happen to your Facebook account when you pass away? Welcome to the world of estate planning in the digital age!
Below is a helpful except from NAPFA addressing issues to think about and points to add to your overall estate plan when it comes to digital assets.
In recent years, a new category of assets has appeared on the scene which can be more complicated to pass on at someone’s death than stocks, bonds and cash. The list includes digital domain names, social media accounts, websites, blogs and pretty much anything stored on the cloud. These digital assets can present a real conundrum for technically-challenged heirs and executors.
For instance, if you were to die tomorrow, would your heirs or executor know the passcodes to access your laptop, iPad or smartphone? Or, for that matter, your email or online shopping accounts? Would they know how to shut down your Facebook or Twitter account, or would these social media sites live on after your death?
As part of your estate plan, you should create a listing of all digital assets that you might consider passing on, and share your logins and passwords with your executor or trusted heirs. If the account or asset has value (airline miles, hotel rewards programs, domain names, etc.), they should be transferred to specific heirs through your will. Other assets should be shut down or discontinued, which means your digital executor needs to be a detail-oriented person, preferably with some technical familiarity.
The point here is that even if you know who will get your house and financial assets, you could still be leaving a mess to your heirs unless you clean up your digital assets as well.