Who would answer your Facebook “friend requests” if you were no longer around?
That depends on whom you determine – or don’t – in your estate plan. October 21 through 27, 2013 is National Estate Planning Awareness Week, and one web service is using the time to bring attention to the preparation digital assets require.
Digital assets include a variety of web and computerized documents and accounts, including social media accounts, photos, videos, websites, blogs and financial accounts.
Currently, only seven states have legal protocol for what happens to these items and accounts if their owner dies without including them in final wishes.
Bill Simpson is the Founder and President of Life Document Storage, an online storage bank for family documents and vital records including estate and digital asset plans. He said many people don’t realize how important it is to include digital assets in their estate plans.
“Digital assets are new to estate planning. Many people die without knowing they should have included these items in their plans. This makes it difficult for family members to access or delete online accounts. Depending on the site, sometimes impossible,” he said.
Life Document Storage allows people to upload important documents such as estate plans, trusts, wills and other documents. Selected relatives are able to view documents, or access them when necessary, such as the death of a relative. The company launched earlier this year.
Simpson said he came up with the idea for a family-centered document storage company from his experience as a funeral director.
“I’ve helped thousands of people make funeral arrangements. And I noticed that many of their families weren’t prepared to handle final wishes and affairs,” he said. He hopes Life Document Storage will prompt family discussions and end of life planning.
Simpson said there are several ways to begin including digital assets into estate plans.
“It’s as simple as creating a list of what online accounts you have and writing down account information. You can take it further by deciding what should happen to those accounts upon your death,” he said. “But no matter how you store your information, electronically or on paper, make sure your family can find it if something were to happen to you,” Simpson concluded.
For more information on digital asset planning or document storage, visit www.LifeDocumentStorage.com.
Bill Simpson – Email – 1-800-377-7341