Estate Planning: Don’t Forget Social Media!

Estate Planning: Don’t Forget Social Media! It hasn’t been long since all of our financial and tax records were on paper. We could contain them in a filing cabinet or a folder and let our chosen representative know “it’s all right there” for a situation when they may need to pull those records for you. However, now we have computers and we have the Internet – much of our lives is documented almost exclusively online. Unless we remember to include our social media and digital assets in our estate planning, the person we’ve chosen to represent us may not be able to find those critical documents. If you scan your statements, or receive them electronically, someone may not even be aware that they exist. If you prefer to use Quicken or Quickbooks to manage your finances or online tax software, all of those records will be in your computer. Facebook pages, emails, photos stored online, and blogs would likely be of special importance to your family and they should be able to access them. Almost all of this information will be password protected. Unless you make arrangements with your family or trusted representative, that information may be impossible for them to recover. Estate planning for your social media and digital assets is not entirely different from planning for other assets. You must make a list of everything you have and its location, choose someone to represent you, and give that person access. You may also want to provide direction as to what you want done with these assets after you’ve passed. Categorizing your assets (software, hardware, social media) will help make the task of going through your online accounts less daunting. Beside each account you should add the domain name, your username, password, and any PIN numbers. Keep this list somewhere safe – if you choose to keep it on your computer, ensure it is a password protected file and give that file to your trusted representative. Make sure you consider what you’d like to do with your assets. As an example, if you have a website or a blog and wish for it to remain up, leave instructions for a successor. If your site is currently producing, or may produce, income make sure your successor knows about this fact. If you have anything on your computer that you want passed on to family or friends, ensure they are in a ‘do not delete’ folder and they are clearly noted on your inventory list. You will likely want to leave instructions for your representative to close down accounts to prevent identity theft. This person will need to be able to obtain a copy of your death certificate to do so, and naming them as a -executor will make this task more viable for them by giving them a legal authority to act on your behalf. As with all estate planning, including your online presence will require time and thought but will ultimately make things easier for your family later. Call The Law Center today at 303-991-5200 and schedule your free consultation today to discuss your planning needs! source : The Law Center PC

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