Today, so much of our life is conducted online – e-mail, running a business, banking, shopping, cloud storage, etc... The average person has dozens of online accounts and an ever-increasing digital footprint. If something happened to you, how would the people you love and trust gain access to your important online accounts? I’ll outline a few steps you should take in this article, some of which only take minutes and can be done today.
Complete Your Estate Plan
First of all, you need to have an estate plan. Your living trust and power of attorney should grant your trustee and agent the authority to manage your online accounts in case of incapacity or death. Surprisingly, most attorneys and online drafting solutions use out of date documents that don’t address digital assets. LivingTrustify’s documents are up-to-date and grant this important authority to the trustee and agent you name in your documents. Better yet, it will take you 15 minutes or less to get your estate plan done with LivingTrustify. Start for free today
Follow a Website’s Process
Some websites have a process in place whereby you can name someone to have access to your account if you become incapacitated or pass away. For example, Google has set up a tool where you can name what they refer to as an “Inactive Account Manager” to have access to your e-mail and other Google associated accounts in the event of incapacity or death.
Another example is Facebook which allows a user to name a “Legacy Contact.” When a Facebook user deceases, their account is “memorialized” (i.e., frozen in time). The Legacy Contact can send out a final message on your behalf, close the account, or change your profile photo among other limited things.
Use a Password Manager
Online password managers store all your passwords for you and will usually have a feature to automatically generate strong passwords for your accounts. Although some people are justifiably nervous about having all of their passwords stored in one place online, there are password managers who seem to have done a really good job at securing their platform. Most password managers also have an emergency access feature where you can add a loved one to have access to your passwords in case of incapacity or death.