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There is no question that online banking, electronic bill payment and personal finance software make our lives easier. But if our heirs cannot access those technologies that we use on a regular basis, the advantages we find in using our online resources could be lost.

When thinking about protecting your computer and online information from prying eyes, most people will not consider the possible consequences of keeping their passwords and online accounts secret from their families. Most internet companies have strict privacy policies and information necessary to access accounts may be out of reach until an Executor is appointed by the Court. This may prevent your heirs from obtaining immediate information to pay important bills, protect significant assets and retrieve personal and sentimental property.

Without information regarding your computer use, many items, such as photographs, videos, music and letters may also be lost to your family. And in this day and age, when many social relationships are developed through the internet, your loved ones’ inability to access your online information may also result in many important people in your life not being informed of your death or disability.

Keeping an inventory of your e-mail and online account passwords should be an important part of your estate planning inventory. When considering or revising your estate plan, it is prudent to provide your loved ones with that information as well as the knowledge necessary to identify your accounts, insurance policies, stocks, bonds, personal property and the like.

Care should be taken that important and private information not fall into the wrong hands and your inventory should be kept in a secure location. Whether you provide that information to your Executor now or you keep it under lock and key in your home, it should be easily accessible by those you trust.

Keeping an inventory of your passwords and online accounts should be an important part of your estate plan. If not, you could be creating a digital disaster.

For more information on this issue please contact Taroff & Taitz, LLC.

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