Many people fail to properly make an estate plan. Those who do make estate plans usually think their assets are sufficiently covered, and might fail to make adjustments as time goes on. With the advent of online banking, online investing, and the digital age, many people don't think about how their online lives affect their estate plans. Although a family member might have a power of attorney to pay bills, they might have to go through a hassle to do so. It might require them to submit documents to the companies before paying bills on your behalf.
Generally, power of attorney document come into play when someone can't care for themselves or make decisions on their own. By gathering passwords and information about digital accounts, people can help their power of attorneys and executors should something happen to them. Although there are other ways to get access to these accounts should the need arise, many people who have online accounts, also receive online bills. Therefore, caretakers might not even know what accounts there are unless a person has their digital estate planning complete.
Sometimes this planning can be as simple as writing down a list of accounts and passwords and putting them in a home safe or locked cabinet. An experienced estate planning attorney can also help include important digital information and assets in a formal estate plan.
As technology evolves and people's assets change, it is very important to understand the need to update an estate plan. If an estate plan is not reviewed regularly, it might become unclear to family how to distribute assets or handle end of life care.
Source: Forbes.com, "You Just Locked Out Your Executor And Made Your Estate Planning A Monumental Hassle," Nancy Anderson, Oct. 18, 2012
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