Dealing with the death or incapacitating illness of a close family member is a challenge. And the situation can be further complicated by the person’s online accounts, especially if they haven’t left a list of online accounts and how to access them.
Think about it. Thanks to the convenience of having so much at our fingertips, most of us have lots of accounts. And usernames. And passwords.
We manage everything online from banking to frequent flier miles, investments, and store credits, and it’s all part of your estate. But first, the executor has to know where to find it and how to access it, especially when there are assets located within these accounts that need to be distributed as outlined in your will.
While we cannot emphasize enough how important it is to have a Will, it’s becoming equally important to have a list of your accounts and how to access them. Drawing up this inventory of accounts and insurance policies doesn’t require any legal expertise, just a few minutes to make a list. To make it even easier, you can download our free Asset Inventory spreadsheet and complete it online.
We also recommend that you add other account information that may not have assets of financial value, but still need to be closed such as Facebook, Netflix, and anything that automatically renews or stores personal information. Then save it to your computer so you can update it as necessary and, don’t forget to let your lawyer, executor and/or power of attorney know where to access the list.
“All too often, when people become incapacitated or pass away, those left to administer the affairs have no idea of the assets nor where the assets are located,” says Michelle Thompson, CFP, of IRC Wealth. “It’s also important to note that, if you use this spreadsheet, you need to ensure it’s maintained in a secure manner (cloud-based DropBox, encrypted site, etc.) so that your account information is secure.”
Then congratulate yourself for investing the time now to alleviate a burdensome scavenger hunt that could take your family hours, if not days, to uncover.