The PBS Newshour program is planning a story to discuss what happens to your online accounts after you die. Included in this is who can access your accounts.http://www.pbs.org/newshour/ They announced last Friday that the story would be shown Monday, March 11. They typically have past programs on the website above; as of this post it wasn't up there yet.There was a recent An Open Letter thread that drifted into a discussion of online accounts and who gets digital assets after you die.http://boards.fool.com/an-open-letter-30547862.aspx?sort=who...(Scroll down to get to the discussion)
Two of my "followers" on Twitter are deceased.No, I'm not being paranoid! I really have dead people following me - all the time!I don't know if their families are aware of the accounts, or how to get them shut down.One was actually a friend, the other a journalist how I followed, and he apparently followed people back as a matter of course.Bill
Two of my "followers" on Twitter are deceased. No, I'm not being paranoid! I really have dead people following me - all the time!Hopefully they are not tweeting back!A recently passed relative's email started sending out spam messages. I knew the password & went in and changed it. This has gotten us thinking about the various email, discusssion & other accounts that should be shut down upon death. There's also the question of whether someone can inherit your iTunes & Kindle content...
You would think most accounts will make themselves known to the executor of the estate either in trying to collect funds due or in sending 1099s etc for tax purposes.Executor may not even be aware of the email account where the electronic messages are sent, but most will follow up by snail mail or phone calls when they get no response. Then executor should be able to deal with them.On brokerage accounts certainly individuals will want to alert key individuals such as their designated executor to the existence of the account. Joint accounts or TODs can be used to deal with the account. You would think one or the other would be appropriate most of the time. A list of accounts, usernames and passwords is a useful summary to have available for your executor, but it needs to be safeguarded, and keeping it up to date can be a challenge.
In the case of Google gmail accounts they will not provide access to a deceased's email account. I was executor for a dear friend and I couldn't get them to provide me with access.Tom
You would think most accounts will make themselves known to the executor of the estate either in trying to collect funds due or in sending 1099s etc for tax purposes.I think this is unlikely. Of approx 15 accounts I have (email, loans, Amazon, etc.) very few if any of them would have tax documentation. Even the loan account would not show up in terms of the online portion.How about your TMF account? Do you have someone who will close it for you?
This subject was just discussed on PBS Newshour tonight. The law is not up-to-date in the case of online accounts. So there is doubt about what to do.Clearly this is more serious when assets are involved. An online site that thinks you owe them money can usually be counted on to come after you. One that holds your assets should be included in your estate. But where your online estate gets probated could get tricky. Which state or country's laws apply?Personally, I am less concerned about email or online discussion boards. Having some guidelines would be nice, but not too urgent. That does not mean I want them public or published.
I just emailed the following to my SIL, who will help settle my estate:When I die, look at a couple of months of my bank statements and credit card statements for anything automatically deducted and cancel the accounts. Things like Netflix. Otherwise they could continue to deduct for months before you discover it.Trini
Late to this but I have a Word file that is passworded itself that has ALL our usernames and passwords. It now goes with my "Letter From Your Dead Husband" and is updated regularly. I may list those reoccuring accounts. That's a great addition. Upon retirement I found three automatic charges that I didn't know we had. Most often DW or I got a discount for signing up for something with the ability to cancel -- and we forgot.BobRYR Home Fool
I use a google docs shared file to update any changes to passwords/ financially sensitive data. Of course that's only as secure as Google can keep it -- so far, so good, fingers crossed :)----------------MDP Home Fool
Late to this but I have a Word file that is passworded itself that has ALL our usernames and passwords. It now goes with my "Letter From Your Dead Husband" and is updated regularly. I may list those reoccuring accounts. That's a great addition. Upon retirement I found three automatic charges that I didn't know we had. Most often DW or I got a discount for signing up for something with the ability to cancel -- and we forgot.BobRYR Home Fool One thing I do for some of those trials is to create one of those temporary credit card numbers. That way, you set the number to expire shortly after the purchase and they have to contact you to update your CC number. I recently had one subscription about to expire and they wouldn't accept an email request for cancellation. You had to call in, which I'm sure would turn into a sales pitch and likely with them saying I opted to renew (all you have to do is say yes somewhere in the conversation). Well, they tried to charge the throw-away number and emailed me to update my profile with a new one. Account effectively canceled. I did get a mailed bill, which I may return marked cancel one of these days.
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