What Happens to Your On-Line Data in the Event of Your Death?

Would your personal representative be able to track down all your bank accounts and pay all your bills that are setup for web access? Could your family recover pictures and videos that you have stored with services such as Picasa or Flickr? Dan Rosenwald at the Washington Post ran interesting article on digital data and services that allow your heirs to take over your on-line accounts. Some of the sites mentioned were Legacy Locker, Bcelebrated.com, DataInherit, Entrustet, Parting Wishes, VitalLock, My Last Email and If I Die.

These sites serve a new need and the emphasis of the sites varies. All sites let you store your accounts and passwords. This is the critical item, but you must keep the information current to be of value to your executor. Similar information may already be stored with Password Keeper or Online Vault among others. The sites that focus on what to do in the event of your demise also allow you to store a letter to your family or some special wishes. Much of this information can be stored on paper. However, the sites assist you in gathering important information, storing it, and make updating the information easy. Some of the sites will assist your executor in taking down sites and closing out accounts. I think it is too early to tell which sites will be the survivors, but digital records are not going away. If you have valuable on-line records, you should consider one of these providers. In addition, have your attorney include a beneficiary for your digital assets in your will or trust.

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