As people of all ages migrate to electronic interaction with their financial accounts (bank, investments, credit cards, insurance, etc.) a potentially large headache may be created for estate executors.
Often, when someone dies, the executor expects to gather account statements and bills as they are delivered in the traditional mail. But with many people now choosing electronic delivery, the paper trail to identify the various accounts can be hidden in cyberspace.
As this article in the January 7 Seattle Times discusses, more and more people need to set up a process for managing username and passwords for access to secure accounts online. This needs to become a regular, proactive part of your estate plan since passwords often change and new online interactions develop frequently.
And it’s not just the secure online account information that needs to be tracked and stored. You need to make sure that you have someone act as your digital power of attorney and allow him or her to get access to your list of login IDs and passwords. With this information, this person will be able to retrieve all of your electronically saved documents.
If you are unsure whether your parents or your kids – or anyone else you may be executor for – are managing accounts online or keeping track of their login information, ask them and make sure they update the information and store it in a safe place that you know about.
~ Brooks, Hughes & Jones, Partners in Wealth Management, Tacoma, WA