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What happens to your online accounts after you die?

Many people don't stop to count or think about the number of online accounts they actually have. In addition to using the Internet to access banking and investment accounts you may also have one or more social media accounts, a music library you've built over the course of years and a site where you login to view and manage your frequent flyer miles.

Now think about this; if you were to die tomorrow, would your loved one's know about all of your online accounts, how to access the accounts and what your wishes are with regard to these accounts? If you answered no, you're not alone. The future of online and digital accounts is something that most people neglect to plan for when establishing an estate plan.

Today, there are a number of digital estate planning and archive websites where you can enter in and store information and instructions about all of your online accounts. Additionally, many of these websites allow you to upload estate planning documents that you've created with the assistance of an attorney. Essentially, these websites act as sort of online one-stop-shop where loved ones can access and reference important documents and materials in the event you become incapacitated or die.

For example, say you are involved in a serious car accident and are unable to communicate. In addition to providing your loved ones with easy and instant access to your living will and who can make medical decisions on your behalf, you can also include more detailed and specific instructions about the types of medical interventions or possible outcomes you want and don't want.

Estate planning is a highly personal process and if you’re someone who has numerous online accounts and wants to ensure easy access to these accounts as well as other important estate planning documents, it’s wise to speak with your attorney who can provide advice and guidance.

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