As we spend more of our lives online -- banking, collecting credit card rewards points, playing virtual reality games, creating photo albums, emailing, tweeting -- it's increasingly important to consider how beneficiaries can access those accounts and any assets they hold, once we're gone.
A part of estate planning that you don't want to overlook is access. This means access to your bank accounts, credit cards, investments, and the like.
Fox Business discussed the preparations you should be undertaking now in a recent article entitled "Tips for Planning Your Estate for the Digital Age".
"Planning your digital afterlife," as Fox Business calls it, can prevent numerous headaches for loved ones by taking a few simple measures. This will decrease the chances of family members becoming online sleuths (by design or default) after you're gone. The article suggests these ideas:
- Keep a snail mail trail. Even if you do business mostly online, you should ask to receive some paper statements so your heirs can have info on your accounts from mail delivery; and
- Consolidate your accounts. Combining financial accounts or at least moving assets to a small number of institutions will make them easier to track.
Otherwise, Fox says, finding the records could be sheer luck.
Note that our clients have an opportunity to store digital information through an encrypted storage location accessible through our website or vault. Call our office to get more ideas on how to set up your estate in the most efficient manner.
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Reference: Fox Business (March 21, 2014) "Tips for Planning Your Estate for the Digital Age"