Archive for the ‘Digital Estate Planning’ Category
What if you suddenly died or became incapacitated? Would your Executor, Power of Attorney, heirs, or family know about the existence of your “invisible” online and web-based accounts, the ones with no statements or paper trail? How about the critical information inside your email accounts or the content on your website or social media accounts? Does anybody know your log in information to these accounts? While your family is planning your funeral and grieving your loss, criminals could be hijacking your Facebook account. Do you know how to protect your “information afterlife”?
Order Creating Your Digital Estate Plan, an easy-to-understand guide to
- Provide for the safe transference of digital information to your family and authorized representatives.
- Account for digital assets that might be overlooked by your estate.
- Protect your information afterlife from unauthorized access by identity thieves and other digital mischief-makers.
Creating Your Digital Estate Plan is only $9.99 and is essential for
- Prudent baby boomers who understand the Digital Age poses challenges for planning their estate
- Adult children of senior citizens who desire to be well-informed about comprehensive estate planning
- Members of the financial and legal community responsible for the estate planning of others
- Digital natives and millennials with assets, accounts, and information stored on the web
- Professional Organizers who want to extend value-added benefits to their clients
Available as a PDF, Creating Your Digital Estate Plan is the best $9.99 you’ll ever spend. Loaded with critical cutting-edge information, it also includes a link to a simple, customizable Digital Estate Plan form so you can make your own, personalized Digital Estate Plan. Order your copy of Creating Your Digital Estate Plan today!
My client Maxine died suddenly. She and I were in the midst of an organizing project. We were sorting through hundreds of documents in a filing cabinet. “So many of them are obsolete and many are in digital form now,” Maxine observed. “It’s time for purge.” Too big a project to finish in just one organizing session, we set up a second session for the next week. “She had a massive coronary,” Maxine’s sister Elena told me when I called to confirm our session. I was stunned. “Let me know if there is anything I can do,” I told Elena.
Two months later the family was still settling Maxine’s estate and I got a call from Elena who Maxine appointed as her Executor. “I thought I sent a death certificate to all her banks but I just found out there’s this web account at Voya. For the past two months, money has been transferring out of that account to pay Maxine’s cell phone bill and her cable bill. It’s like a ghost account. No statements, no emails…it’s not a lot of money, but I’m having a heck of a time turning off the payments!” Elena exclaimed.
Maxine’s death got me thinking about what I could do to help my clients better prepare for ‘information afterlife’. Information afterlife is the phrase I use to describe information and transactions that seem to live on after we die. And then there is all that login information to access accounts and assets that we have to leave behind for our family to settle our estates.
Let me give you an example.
Professor Elizabeth Mathews was my college professor back in the 1970s in the newly emerging field of environmental science. I always admired Professor Mathew’s organization skills as well as her enthusiasm for saving the planet. Assignments were made well in advance. Our papers were graded quickly. We always knew when the exams were. When I visited Professor Mathew at the hospital after she had a stroke, I was not surprised to learn she had a power-of-attorney in place, her brother Joe. “I’m happy to take care of things while Elizabeth is incapacitated,” Joe told me over a hospital cafeteria cup of coffee. “Thing is, I can’t find her paperwork. There are no bills in the mailbox and no statements in the house.” Elizabeth had gone green. As a devout environmentalist, that was no surprise to me. “Well that’s fine for the trees,” Joe said, “but she’s getting emails reminding her to make her car payment. I click on the link to their website but I don’t know her password so I can’t get in. I spent half a day just trying to find their phone number.” Poor Joe. Not only is he worried about Elizabeth’s health, but now he’s concerned about her finances.
The terms of service agreements regarding who can access bank accounts, cell phone companies, and all other businesses are very well-intentioned. They are designed to protect their customers against fraud and identity theft and to protect their privacy rights. But the digital age cries out for reform so that the family of a deceased, executors, attorneys, powers of attorney, and others involved in the disposition of estates can do their job. Reform is slow is coming but it is coming via the courts and state legislatures. Meanwhile, you can take action on your own behalf with a
(DEP). A Digital Estate Plan identifies ‘invisible’, digital assets that may be part of your estate such as web-only accounts. It also provides login information to appropriate authorized individuals to access your digital assets and accounts.
To get you started, click here for a free checklist for developing a Digital Estate Plan and then take it a step further. Get your own copy of the Create Your Digital Estate Plan ebook! Please be advised that I am not an accountant, attorney, estate planner, or a financial professional of any kind. I am a professional organizer and legally unqualified to advise you about the particulars of your estate. Please consult with your accountant, lawyer, estate planner, or other professionals involved in the disposition of your estate about developing your Digital Estate Plan.
Copyright 2016 Judith Kolberg