In today’s day and age, so much of what we do is online. More and more of what we do is paperless. We do our taxes online, have private files on our computers, and have passwords to secure our accounts. When you die, who will gain access to these files, and what do you want them to do with them? It is important to establish a executor to manage your digital estate.
Digital File Cabinets
Today, newer files are kept more often on a computer or cloud storage system, rather than in a file cabinet. Having password protections on your important documents can be important;but when you pass away, someone may need access to those very files. This can be anything from legal documents and tax returns; to family photos. According to a McAfee survey, the average computer user values their digital files and information at about $35,000. Even your internet search history is important. You may wish for your executor to delete it.
Social media accounts document our daily lives; our past and present, and personal information reside right there. While most Terms of Service Agreements from these websites prohibit the sharing of your password, many people do it anyway. Odds are, you won’t be prosecuted for going onto your deceased family member’s profile; but it can be a good idea to leave your executor a password and instructions for your accounts. Do you want it deleted? Kept up to date? It is important to articulate those wishes to your executor.
Some social media websites also have special modes for this. Facebook, for example, created a “Legacy Contact.” You can designate someone as your Legacy Contact. If that person tells the site that you have passed away, they will gain minor access to your page. They will have the ability to pin a post to your page, change your profile picture, and accept friend requests. They will not be able to post as you, read messages, etc.
For more than 40 years, our firm has been assisting people like you with long term care and estate planning needs. We bring you the knowledge and resources to protect you and your family. Armstrong & Lamberti, PLLC does not provide tax, legal, medical or accounting advice by articles. This material has been prepared for informational purposes only, and is not intended to provide, and should not be relied upon for, tax, legal, medical, or accounting advice. Call 718.477.7700 or contact us online to schedule a free initial consultation with an estate planning attorney at Armstrong & Lamberti, PLLC. We proudly serve Staten Island, Brooklyn and the other boroughs of New York City.