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List Out Digital Footprint for Your Loved Ones

July 6, 2014

The whole world is becoming more digital, and while there are an amazing array of conveniences that come with it, it also complicates estate planning a little bit.

The phrase “digital footprint” is a term that means specifically how many accounts and memberships you have online. This can be gmail accounts, online banking, vehicle forums, social media, gaming sites, etc. Basically, anywhere where you had to sign up for an account.

All of this information will need to be passed on to your loved ones. They will likely need to perform some action with them, such as close out your social networking accounts, updating friends in your email account, etc.

You should make a detailed list of all login information (email, username, password, login passphrase, PIN, etc.) for the following:

  • Email accounts. It is likely that you have more than one, so it is a good idea to list which other accounts are associated with each email address as well.

  • Social networking. This includes Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, etc.

  • Online retailers. These are places that sell solely online, such as eBay, Amazon, Newegg, Zappos, etc.

  • Brick-and-mortar retailers.

  • Service accounts. These are things such as banking, cable and phone bills, utilities, etc.

You will also need to provide instructions to your beneficiary about what you would like done with these accounts. Keep in mind that closing accounts can often be tricky, requiring copies of a death certificate or the like.

It is undeniable that this will be a large undertaking, but digital assets are becoming an increasingly large part of estate plans, and they absolutely cannot be overlooked.

If you have any questions or concerns about digital assets, speak with your estate planning attorney right away. They will be able to tell you which accounts require the most action, and whether any can be ultimately ignored.