Here’s a quick query regarding the so-called digital universe that exists online: How many accounts do you think an “average” Internet user has?
One can almost hear the wheels spinning for readers seeking to come up with a quick calculation.
There’s email, right? And probably at least one — and, in many cases, several — investment-related accounts.
And what about an assortment of these online platforms, which cascade forth like so many waterfalls: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Snapchat, Flickr … ad nauseam.
The point sought to be made here is twofold, namely, that online opportunities are vast and that the aforementioned average consumer explores many of them. Reportedly, a person with Internet-based accounts has a whopping 26 of them, with 10 different passwords to boot.
That can be challenging for anybody. Imagine the strain and stress entailed in accessing and managing such a catalogue of complexity for family members trying to deal with a loved one’s so-called “online presence” after he or she has passed away.
Obviously, that can be an onerous chore even if all account information is readily available, with persons seeing to access it having full legal authority and the requisite information required to do so.
What if they’re in the dark regarding account and password information, though? What if a digital platform provider doesn’t recognize their right to assume legal control of a passed loved one’s online accounts?
That can get truly sticky, as noted in a recent article discussing the need for estate planners to consider their online accounts and take steps to deal purposefully deal with them while still alive.
In today’s world, that realm of estate planning is often ignored, with consequences. Millions of people keep all their financial data on line. Legions of Internet users cumulatively store billions of important photos and images on digital platforms.
“Technology has given rise to a whole new world of digital assets,” notes the above-cited article.
Increasingly, smart estate planners are duly focused upon properly identifying and managing such assets — their digital property — in estate plans that fully address how they should be managed in the event of death.
An experienced estate administration can help with that task.