I got a call last week from a frantic man who started getting calls from credit card companies for all kinds of money owed by him and his partner.
His life partner died 3 weeks ago and always got the mail and paid the bills.
I cannot imagine what it feels like to lose the love of my life and before I have even a moment to grieve, the pressure of unknown creditors starts building and building and building. AGGGHHHHH!!! Can’t find accounts, no paper trails, no list of online accounts, and no passwords.
What a mess!
And to make the situation even worse, State and federal laws relating to digital assets make it against the law to have another person, not the account holder, get access to online accounts.
In English this means that you break the law if you are unprepared for this situation and you try to get access to your former loved one’s online accounts.
And think about how many accounts you have!
You BANK ONLINE! checking, savings, certificates of deposits, brokerage accounts…
You pay your rent, mortgage, gas, electric, water, trash online.
You pay your credit cards, home equity loans, student loans, and other debt bills online.
You have Facebook and twitter and linked in and snap-chat and Instagram and Pinterest and lots of other social media accounts.
You probably buy house hold items or repeat items on amazon or eBay or target or Walmart online.
There is an easy solution to this. Create an estate plan and include a plan for personal digital assets. To start, you can visit my friend Russ and at a minimum get a digital asset authorization document. Don’t forget to put it in a safe or a safe deposit box and also put a copy on a memory stick.
21st century technology creates 21st century problems. Let’s all catch up to the 21st century!