The more new tools I use, the more online accounts I have to create. That means more passwords to remember, more usernames to create, and the broader an online presence I have to track. All of these virtual operations got me thinking. And they may seem like an unlikely pairing, but organizing your online accounts and preparing your estate plan actually go hand-in-hand.
Using Your Estate Plan to Keep Track of Your Passwords?
Hear me out. I know it may seem like I think the solution to everything is a good estate plan, but -- I actually do! Your online presence will live on after you pass. By incorporating your digital life into your estate plan, you can take control of your online assets (like emails, social media profiles, and virtually-stored photos, videos, documents, and music). But, there’s an amazing side benefit to putting all these accounts in one place.
You have the opportunity to go through all of your digital assets and track your usernames, passwords, and account details all in one place.
Sure, some of us are the types to use encrypted password trackers and the like, but the majority of us just use the same password for every account and rely on the “stored password” feature on our computers. How great would it be to spend a little time going through those accounts, creating a list, and using that living document to keep yourself organized? Sounds like a dream, huh?
Consider What Those Passwords are Protecting
In reality, however, going through this process of organizing your online accounts isn’t really about the convenience of remembering your passwords.
It’s actually about something far more important.
In our digital age, especially while many of us are working from home and are tied to our laptops, it’s easy to forget how important the assets are that lie behind those passwords. We use online accounts to manage our businesses, to access our finances, to store our writings and communications and precious family photographs. What would happen if we were unable to manage these accounts? What if we became ill? Would our loved ones want or need access to these accounts to be able to pay bills, keep the electricity on, access medical records, view beloved home videos, or manage the family business?
The Future of Estate Planning
As more and more of our lives move online, we are in need of more and more planning and protection surrounding our online assets. That’s why it’s so important to incorporate digital assets into your estate plan. And what better time to start doing so than right now? You can even start the old-fashioned way, by taking notes on a sheet of paper as you log onto your accounts today. Make note of each online account, your user name, password, and what assets or information are stored on that account. It will not only help you navigate your online life more easily, but it will help you begin to create a digital estate plan that will help your loved ones, too.
To talk about how you can incorporate digital assets into your estate plan, and to learn more about estate planning, feel free to reach out!