Protecting Your Digital Estate

If you have a will or trust set up, it's important to factor in how today's digital world plays a role in your assets as well. Read on to learn more about organizing your digital estate, as well as information for planning for the future and how  you can make a difference at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children and Orlando Health Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women & Babies through your will.

Few people want to sift through paperwork when a loved one dies, but now many also have to plunder through online accounts—stock trades, bank statements, social networks and emails—to retrieve crucial information and possibly a portion of their inheritance. 

To complicate matters, most people change their passwords frequently and rarely use something obvious. Meanwhile, most estimates show that the average Internet user has as many as 20 passwords. 

While numerous services can safely secure your passwords in an “online vault,” they can be limited. In many instances, some online terms of service may prevent you from transferring accounts to other people. There is also this consideration: What if the online security company goes out of business? Storing your passwords in your will isn’t a good idea either since passwords can change often and a will becomes public record, which can potentially put your assets at risk. 

4 Steps to Organizing Your Digital Estate
So what can you do to help your heirs? Take the four steps listed at right to make the passing on of your online legacy less hectic for your loved ones.

  1. Identify all of your online assets—email, Facebook, PayPal, bank accounts, etc. 
  2. List the usernames, passwords, and security questions and answers, along with the accounts, on a computer spreadsheet that can be easily updated. The list should be stored on a USB flash drive or CD or printed and placed in a safe location such as a fireproof safe or safe-deposit box. 
  3. Share the location of your list with a trusted person, such as your spouse or a loyal friend.
  4. Meet with an estate planning attorney to create a plan that will allow for easy transfer of your digital estate to your heirs.

Learn more about planning for the future and how you can make a difference at Orlando Health here.

© The Stelter Company - The information in this publication is not intended as legal advice. For legal advice, please consult an attorney. Figures cited in examples are for hypothetical purposes only and are subject to change. References to estate and income taxes include federal taxes only. State income/estate taxes or state law may impact your results.