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|Plan Ahead for Your Online Hereafter|
|News Releases - Science & Technology|
|Written by Ginny Grimsley|
|Tuesday, 02 July 2013 09:28|
Asset Protection Lawyer Offers 3 Steps to Take Now
Now, you really can live forever, but that’s not necessarily a good thing.
Many of your online accounts – from automatic bill payments to eBay – may remain active after you pass away, unless you take steps to ensure they don’t, says attorney Hillel Presser, author of “Financial Self-Defense (Revised Edition), ”www.assetprotectionattorneys.
Automatic bill pay, for example, can theoretically keep tapping your bank account long after you’re gone or, at least, until your money is.
“It’s important to make sure your online bank and shopping accounts, even your social media, can be closed out, or that your loved ones are authorized to access them,” Presser says. “You may ask, ‘Why would I care if I’m gone?’ I can tell you from experience: because it can create real headaches, and more heartache, for your family.”
Bank and shopping accounts will be vulnerable to identity theft, which would affect your estate if someone opens credit cards in your name. You might have valuable intellectual property, like domain names. They may need access to your health records, particularly if you died under questionable circumstances, he says.
There’s the sentimental stuff – photos and emails -- that your family may want as a remembrance of you, and the libraries of music and ebooks, which may represent a considerable investment on your part.
“The problem is, even if you provide a family member with all of your accounts, log-ins and passwords, they may not be legally allowed to access them,” Presser says. “In many cases, they may be violating the accounts’ terms of service or violatingfederal privacy and computer fraud laws. Some states have laws governing online materials, but they’re different and which of your accounts are covered depends on where the provider is located.”
What can you do to ensure your family isn’t left with a virtual nightmare after your passing? Presser offers these tips:
The digital world has grown and transformed so rapidly, the law hasn’t kept up, which makes managing your digital afterlife challenging, Presser says.
“Until there are more consistent laws and procedures governing this area, it’s best to plan ahead, leave clear instructions and be sure you have a list of accounts where your estate lawyer or a loved one can find it and access it,” he says. “It will make a world of difference to your survivors.”
About Hillel L. Presser, Esq., MBA
Hillel L. Presser’s firm, The Presser Law Firm, P.A., represents individuals and businesses in establishing comprehensive asset protection plans. He is a graduate of Syracuse University’s School of Management and Nova Southeastern University’s law school, and serves on Nova’s President’s Advisory Council. He is a former adjunct faculty member for law at Lynn University. Complimentary copies of “Financial Self-Defense” are available through www.assetprotectionattorneys.
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