Saturday, May 19, 2012

It is Important to Remember Your Digital Estate

While sipping my coffee in the predawn hours this morning, I read through an interesting article presented in the finance section of Yahoo.  It asked a thought-provoking question - If you died tomorrow, who would inherit your assets?  A quote from the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils, states half of Americans with kids are set to die without a will!

The article listed the usual issues for consideration and planning with estates – Who gets the house, your money, etc.  BUT, it went a step further into an area many of us haven’t considered, the realm of our “digital estates.”
Increasingly, Americans are developing online presence.  In some instances, that presence may be extensive.  Do you have a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn account?  What about a blog or a web domain?  The majority of popular online account services have deceased-user rules and policies, which provide the family or executor of the deceased user information about what’s required to access the account.

It may be important for your survivors to have knowledge of the extent of your online presence – email accounts, photo albums, blogs, music, YouTube, etc.  Personally, I have a trusted person in my family, who has knowledge of most of my on-line accounts, logins and passwords, but the article is prompting me to work on this area of my estate more extensively.  

It is a thought provoking piece, and may act as a strong catalyst for consideration of these areas within your digital/on-line estate.

So folks, it isn’t simply trying to decide which of your children or grandchildren will get the family silver or china anymore.  It’s about an emerging class of digital assets, which likely wouldn’t have been considered as recent as a decade ago.  The full article can be accessed via: “Half of Americans Set to Die Without a Will.”