After someone has passed, their cyberspace footprint does not disappear. Someone must handle the accounts. Most people have multiple online accounts.There are steps you can take to ensure your accounts are properly taken care of, after you have passed.
Here are 5 ways to prepare your accounts:
1. Get a Digital Executor: A digital executor is someone who will carry out your wishes regarding your social media and email accounts, upon your passing. One job your digital executor may have is delete emails or deactivate social media accounts. The executor would be the only one to see your emails and confidential information on your social media accounts. You can designate anyone as your digital executor, but it is best to choose someone you trust.
2. Inventory Your Accounts: The average person has about 90 online accounts. Most likely, you will not be able to remember all the accounts you have created off the top of your head. Make a list of all the accounts you can think of; make sure you have the username and the password. Make notes for any inactive accounts. If you no longer use an account, explain why and what happened.
3. Get Proper Documentation: Since your will or trust may not cover your digital assets, you should work with your digital executors, and make sure they can carry out your wishes. If your executor needs to prove to a service provider that they are your official representatives, confirm you have the proper paperwork filled out. If you have data in the cloud or other online storage, the service may require evidence of your consent to turn the data over to your family members or fiduciaries.
4. Backup Your Files: If you transfer all your files onto a hard drive, it will be much easier for your family members or executors to gain access. Remember that any files you leave on the cloud will still exist.
5. Do Not Forget to Update: Each time you create another online account or delete one, make note of it. Make sure you know which accounts you have on auto delete. For example, Google gives you the option to set up a service called Inactive Account Manager. The service allows you to choose what happens to your account and data after long periods of inactivity. Click here for a guide on how to set up Google’s Inactive Account Manager. Auto delete will take priority over what you have said in any written documents about the account.
Handelin Law represents individuals, families, privately-owned companies, foundations, and fiduciaries to prepare for any situation that may arise. We maintain close relationships with professionals in tax, investment and insurance industries, as well as valuation experts to ensure the best all-around advice for our clients.