Digital Estate Planning: What Happens to Online Logins After You’re Gone?
Everyone has digital footprints of email accounts, bank logins, and social media accounts. But what happens to that information when you pass away? How does your family claim your online stock portfolio, cryptocurrency balance, or other online assets?
A digital estate planning attorney with The Law Office of Ralph W. Powers Jr., PC can help you prepare your digital estate for your eventual passing, including collecting your account information, naming a digital executor, and deleting old accounts you don’t use anymore. To schedule a consultation with a Maryland digital estate planning attorney, contact us today.
Prepare an Inventory of Your Digital Accounts and Logins
You likely manage several online accounts for different reasons, including email accounts, streaming subscriptions, social media profiles, and finance and investment management accounts. Start preparing your digital estate planning by making a list of all your accounts, as well as relevant login information associated with each account.
For your account information, you will need the username and email address you used to sign up for the account, your password, and answers to any security questions. Don’t forget to include the information for all your accounts, including:
- Email accounts
- Bank accounts
- Credit card and loan accounts
- Utilities and bill services
- Retirement and investment accounts
- Insurance policies
- Shopping site accounts
- Subscription streaming services
- Social media profiles
- Phone app accounts
Name a Digital Executor to Manage Your Digital Accounts After Passing
A digital executor can manage your accounts after you pass away, similar to how an estate executor manages and distributes your physical assets. Maryland is one of several states that recognizes the role of a digital executor. When you pass away, your digital executor can perform several essential responsibilities, including:
- Transferring files to external storage
- Deleting files and reformatting hard drives
- Closing online accounts or converting to a memorialized account
- Transferring accounts to heirs or beneficiaries
- Canceling subscriptions and automatic withdrawals
- Notifying account management systems of your passing
Streamline Your Digital Footprints
As you compile your inventory and login information for your digital estate planning, consider doing some housekeeping on old accounts. Do you still use your old Yahoo or Myspace accounts? When was the last time you logged into Groupon? If you don’t think you’ll ever use an account again, log in one last time to delete the account.
You should also familiarize yourself with each system’s terms of service. Each will have instructions for how to transfer an account to an executor if you pass away. Facebook allows an account to become a memorialized account. E-commerce shopping sites and third-party payment platforms like Etsy, Amazon, and PayPal may require a different method of notification than social media sites.
Contact a Digital Estate Planning Attorney in Southern Maryland
For help including digital estate planning in your larger estate plan, contact us at The Law Office of Ralph W. Powers Jr., PC, in Upper Marlboro, MD. Call us at 301-627-1000 or contact us online to schedule your initial consultation with an experienced estate planning attorney.