Many older Americans aren’t aware of the full extent of their digital footprint.
Having all appropriate information in one place isn’t only important to your proper digital management, but is extremely important for your family and your estate after you’re gone or incapacitated.
Everyone needs to do the following:
List all of your accounts, logins, passwords and URL’s including email accounts. Note: if you have more than one email account it is imperative that the appropriate email address be listed with each of your accounts for communication purposes.
List social media Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc.
List any sites you use to purchase or sell products and services like eBay, Amazon, craigslist, Zappos, etc.)
List all retailers where you have open accounts.
List all business and service related online accounts like banking, utilities, cable, phone, Internet, etc.
List all accounts in which you use automatic transfers or payments via a credit card or checking account withdrawal.
Discuss with your spouse or family as to whether you want these accounts closed or transferred when the time comes. List the contact person, if you have one, at each account, as well as passwords and login information and make sure to include all financial, banking and credit card sites as these are areas that have the biggest possibility of creating problems if you aren’t available to act.
Provide a copy of this information to your spouse/family and to your accountant and attorney along with instructions of how these matters should be handled.
Instruct the appropriate person (family member or friend) whether you wish some kind of message sent out via your social media sites including various alumni list-serves indicating your passing or incapacitation.
Be aware that each social media site has a different set of rules governing how to close your account and remove the profile of a deceased users. Some are relatively easy while others may require a copy of an obituary notice or even a death certificate.
For additional information and many articles on what you should consider with respect to your digital footprint check out thedigitalbeyond.com
For more information on who gets access to a deceased person’s digital accounts including state by state laws on access to digital accounts after death check this report from the Pew Research Center .
And for a short concise estate-planning check list , visit our site, RetiredBrains.com.
By Art Koff