Online bank accounts and other digital assets are changing estate planning

POSTED: Sunday, June 24, 2012 - 12:00pm

UPDATED: Sunday, June 24, 2012 - 12:04pm

Some elements of planning out your estate are obvious, others not so much.

Increasingly your digital assets, everything from online bank accounts to frequent flier and rewards programs to social media are becoming a consideration for estate planning.

Financial writer Catey Hill suggests designating a "digital executor" to handle wrapping up your online life.

"Say, 'Here's what I want to have happen with my Facebook account, here's what I want to have happen with whatever it is, my email, my Flicker', you need to lay all of that out for someone."

Which could mean setting up all the information for your digital accounts online in one place.

Websites such as LegacyLocker and SecureSafe offer digital estate planning help, or you can go the low tech, hard copy route.

"Make one document with the account name and the account number and another document with the passwords and keep them separate, so that someone can put them together if you died and figure that out," Hill suggests.

In some cases, even with that information, your digital executor may still need to provide legal documentation of your death to make sure your online life doesn't survive long after you do.

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