These are all things that your will won't pass on to your heirs. And chances are high that they'll be lost forever.
That's quite a loss when you consider it. Today, our personal email accounts are like an intimate journal of our lives and include correspondence with loved ones, cherished photographs, and important information that should be could be passed on to future generations.
This is to say nothing of the financial mess that we all have online. The average person has literally dozens of passwords to online accounts, none of which survive his death.
Planning is the answer to all this.
This firm yearly encourages clients to keep digital and hard-copy lists of email accounts, financial passwords, and other such information securely in the hands of a trusted loved one.
A recent Seattle Times article provides even more insight. The estate planning attorney quoted therein, James Lamm, says that a "digital will" has three basic steps:
"First, do a complete inventory of all digital accounts and assets so that your estate administrator will know just what you have of potential value (or liability) and where it is. Second, assemble a list of all passwords. Third, select a fiduciary and give them the proper power of attorney to administer your estate."
Another note: It is possible to access the gmail, yahoo, or hotmail accounts of a deceased individual. This blog explains how. See also here for another step-by-step guide to preparing your "digital will."
Tanner Pittman, LLC is an estate planning and probate law firm that regularly advises clients on such matters as digital wills.