Estate planning in the digital age

We may not always understand how it works, but technology has made our lives much easier. Most of us have several websites that we rely upon every day to complete our ordinary tasks. We have email addresses, as well as profiles set up on social media websites. Many of us even do our banking or pay our bills online. And, with smartphones becoming more sophisticated, we can have these tools at our disposal nearly anywhere that we go.

But, what happens when we pass away? With important documents and family photos saved on our computers, will family members know how to access this information? If we do not include this our estate planning documents, we can make things much more difficult for our loved ones.

After families deal with the initial grief of a loss of a loved one, they will need to move on to the next steps of the process. Some individuals may have created a will that clearly describes the property that will pass along to the wishes of the deceased. Sometimes, these documents do not cover all of the assets that an individual may have had, which can leave a family with questions about any outstanding assets.

Because so much information is contained online, and is protected by passwords, individuals may wish to create a list of accounts and how to access them should they become incapacitated. This document should be securely stored in a safe along with all of the other documents that are part of an estate plan, which can easily be located by family when needed.

Compiling a list of all automatic deductions from a bank account is also very important. This can inform families on the amount and duration of the deductions, so that they can be canceled or modified. Failing to do this could result in serious problems for the family members to address.

If you have questions about how best to compile this information, speak to an experienced estate planning attorney. An attorney can help you learn more about the specific requirements in each state, and can create documents that carry out your wishes.

The loss of a loved one can be a very difficult thing for many families, especially if the loss was unexpected. You want to be sure that you do not make things worse. It might be uncomfortable to think about, but you need to take the time to put a comprehensive estate plan in place to protect your family.