The explosion of Internet use over the last couple of decades has really had an enormous impact on society in many different ways. Estate planning and issues that are relevant to seniors citizens have been affected by the realities of the digital age, and it is important to recognize some of the subtle differences that can be overlooked.
In the past one of the basic things that needed to be taken care of when you were planning your estate was to let your family members know where your important documents were. Things like your bank books and brokerage statements and contact information were probably stored in a lock box somewhere, and if it was opened after your death everything would be more or less self-explanatory.
However, these days things are quite a bit different. Many people do their banking online and don’t even receive paper statements at all. So if you want your loved ones to have access to these accounts you have to let them know they exist and provide the necessary login information, such as your username and password. In addition to bank accounts many people have online brokerage accounts and a lot of folks have eBay and PayPal accounts. Access to these accounts must be recorded as well.
In addition to financial services accounts, many individuals have websites, blogs, and/or social networking accounts. This too is something to discuss with your heirs. If you worked on a website or blog for many years you may want to see it maintained after your death, and you may also want to discontinue your social networking accounts.
These details that have come along with the digital age can sometimes be overlooked. To gain a more complete understanding of how to plan your estate in light of the realities of the Internet, simply take a moment to arrange for a consultation with a licensed estate planning attorney.