What happens to your Facebook account, Paypal transactions, or Ebay account if you pass away or become incapacitated? Who has access to that “bill pay” function? You have beautiful photo albums that you keep and update on-line, will your children still be able to see them? You do your business back ups to the cloud, can your business partners get to your documents?
There are practical answers and legal answers here. The legal pieces are probably still a murky tangle. Presumably title transfers as a type of intangible property in some cases, in others, the cash will flow through probate like other types of financial accounts.
However, some practical steps are necessary before you even get to that point.
- Make a list of digital accounts and passwords
- Store them somewhere non-digital (like your desk drawer)
- Update them when you change your passwords or add accounts
In some ways this goes against the grain of keeping our information secure, but I think that it is far more likely that an account will be hacked than that someone will rifle through your desk drawer for the list of digital account information. (Of course, if you have middle school children and you control the XBox Live account, this may not apply…)
Some financial and legal professionals offer services that store this type of information along with copies of your important documents. It’s a little like a digital safety deposit box, and you create a password and pin that would allow another to see the information in the event of a crisis.
However you decide to keep track, this type of information gains in importance every day, make sure someone can get to it if they need to.