We all spend time and energy making sure on-line access to financial accounts is not easy for third-parties. What if the third-party is your spouse and you are unconscious in a hospital bed, having recently been in a serious accident?
More and more people are accessing their bank, brokerage and retirement accounts on-line, many times also opting to go paperless, and no longer receive paper account statements. In New Hampshire especially, many of us make an effort to conserve our natural resources. This green behavior can wreak havoc on your family and loved ones, unless you take steps to provide them with access to your virtual assets in the event of your disability or death.
We recommend that our clients plan for the appropriate third-parties to have access to their computers and on-line accounts in the event of sudden illness or death. Think about how your spouse or loved one would get onto your computer and into the various places that you go to on the internet. Make a list of all the websites that you visit during a month. You should plan to provide the account log in and password information to the appropriate individuals. This can be done safely by having the information stored securely in a locked file cabinet, drawer or lockbox and letting your spouse or loved one or your estate planning attorney know where the information is and how it can be accessed in the event of an emergency.
It is critical for your spouse or loved one to have access to your financial information, but your Facebook and Twitter accounts should also be included on this list as well as the site where you store digital photographs.
In the true American entrepreneurial spirit, there are businesses that have sprung up to address these concerns. You may want to check out the services available at Legacylocker.com or AssetLock.net.
Our goal is to make clients aware of these issues and encourage clients to take steps to plan for an unexpected illness or death, so that your loved ones will have less to worry about at an already difficult time.