Everything from banking to commerce is done online nowadays, stressing the importance for people who rely heavily on the Internet for their day-to-day business activities to plan their estate accordingly. Banks and credit card companies often advertise the benefits of going paperless (receiving notices and important information through email rather than postal mail). What they neglect to inform you about is that making that decision can affect your loved ones after you pass. It is important to consider how beneficiaries can access online accounts and digital assets when planning your estate.
Digital Assets in a Paperless World
It can be difficult to pinpoint or have access to any electronically documented assets if an individual failed to provide for their distribution in his or her estate plan. A deceased person’s digital assets may have significant value in many cases. Bank accounts, insurance policies, or airline and hotel reward programs can all be documented online. Sometimes, heirs are unaware that these accounts exist, much less the necessary information to access them. The following are a few things you can do to save your loved ones from future headaches during their time of grief:
- Leave a small paper trail – Going entirely paperless is unnecessary. Some of your bills and statements can be mailed, and if you prefer to keep some sort of physical record, it’s suggested to maintain postal billing and information. Otherwise, bank and investment account information should be printed, stored and kept in a safe location.
- Make a list of accounts and information – Document everything. Locating financial accounts can be difficult if you fail to provide your loved ones with a list. This list should contain names of financial institutions, account numbers, and titles. Ensure to inform your children or heirs that information is being documented and where it can be found should you pass on unexpectedly or suddenly.
- Consolidate accounts – Combine financial accounts and move assets to a smaller number of providers to make everything easier to keep track of. This way, accounts are kept together rather than separately, allowing them to found much easier.
- Designate on online executor – Your online executor can be named in your will in addition to the overall estate executor. This person will be entrusted with the task of providing information to your loved ones about any online accounts or digital assets.
Think About Tomorrow, Start Today
Technology continues to advance, but estate planning will always be a viable service to protect and ensure your best interests after your passing. Barrera, Sanchez & Associates offers probate services that ensure you’re interests are well-taken care of and your wishes are upheld. Avoid the tension and arguments your family may experience after you pass by entrusting us to help you plan for tomorrow.