Monday, January 16, 2012
I have previously blogged about how to preserve your digital assets when you die. The Wall Street Journal builds upon that idea. One certified financial planner encourages his clients to fill out a form (available on ljpr.com) with all of his/her names and passwords to online accounts. The document is not formally legal, but it does provide guidance for your family. Some online sites provide “estate planning” services. When doing this, it is important that you use a site with a secure connection. If you don’t fill out a form, you should at least make an informal inventory of your online accounts and keep it in a safe place.
Clients are often concerned about the safest place to keep inventories once they make them. Some financial planners now keep the information for their clients.
When clients pass, family members encounter varying rules for access to information depending on what sites hosted accounts for the deceased. Yahoo has a non-transferability clause and they may close an account if representatives of a deceased user try to gain access to it. Facebook keeps accounts open to a limited degree. Google will sometimes allow an authorized representative to access a deceased’s gmail account.
See Kelly Greene, PINS that Needle Families, The Wall Street Journal, Jul. 23, 2011.
Special thanks to Jim Hillhouse (Professional Legal Marketing (PLM, Inc.)) for bringing this article to my attention.