It's Important to Remember Your Digital Estate

By
Real Estate Agent with GreatWest Realty DRE# 00827565

Every once in a while there’s a subtle reminder I’d leave a logistical disaster behind if I were to unexpectedly expire or kick the bucket. And, usually that reminder acts as catalyst to work on getting “my house in order!”

Not long ago, I read an excellent article which asked a thought-provoking question - If you died tomorrow, who would inherit your assets?  A quote from the National Association of Estate Planners and Councils, states half of Americans with kids are set to die without a will!

The article listed the usual issues for consideration and planning with estates – Who gets the house, your money, etc.  BUT, it went a step further into an area many of us haven’t considered, the realm of our “digital estates.”

Increasingly, Americans are developing online presence.  In some instances, that presence may be extensive.  Do you have a Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn account?  What about a blog or a web domain?  The majority of popular online account services have deceased-user rules and policies, which provide the family or executor of the deceased user information about what’s required to access the account.

It may be important for your survivors to have knowledge of the extent of your online presence – email accounts, photo albums, blogs, music, YouTube, etc.  Personally, I have a trusted person in my family, who has knowledge of most of my on-line accounts, logins and passwords, but the article is prompting me to work on this area of my estate more extensively.

It is a thought provoking piece, and may act as a strong catalyst for consideration of these areas within your digital/on-line estate.

So folks, it isn’t simply trying to decide which of your children or grandchildren will get the family silver or china anymore.  It’s about an emerging class of digital assets, which likely wouldn’t have been considered as recent as a decade ago. 

The article provided by Yahoo Finance can be accessed via: “Half of Americans Set to Die Without a Will.” It’s worth reading!

 

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  1. Barbara Todaro 05/30/2019 03:37 AM
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Rainmaker
2,475,160
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Bob "RealMan" Timm - Our departure from this earth isn't something that most folks are fond of thinking about.  It is only the fear of the mess I'd leave behind that acts as catalyst to get me moving! 

Endre Barath, Jr. - Years ago, I was executor of my mother's estate.  What I remember was having the post office forward her mail to my address.  There was loads of important mail and communication that needed my attention.  In today's world, what use to come through snail mail, comes through email.  It is important for your password to be in the hands of a trusted individual should you pass.

May 30, 2019 08:20 AM #18
Rainmaker
2,475,160
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Barbara Todaro - I think so many folks overlook this important consideration. 

Nina Hollander - With so many important digital assets parked in the cloud, it is important to think about.  Photos are increasingly stored via the internet. 

Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP - One thing I have done is to make certain that digitized family photos, and important documents are stored on an external hard-drive, which isn't password protected.  That way, my family can simply plug the external hard-drive into their own computer and access.

May 30, 2019 08:23 AM #19
Rainmaker
2,475,160
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Brian England - I fully agree with you!  Some things can likely go away.  For example, any real estate websites that are no longer necessary, etc. 

Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR - I have noticed over the years that you have had quite the collection of adorable grandkid and family photos.  If those are stored on your computer, and your computer takes a password to access, you can begin to understand the problem. 

May 30, 2019 08:27 AM #20
Rainmaker
2,475,160
Myrl Jeffcoat
GreatWest Realty - Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent

Carol Williams - I'm smiling at your comment.  Sometimes, it is easier to think of and deal with someone else's demise, rather than our own.  We  put off our own stuff! 

Richie Alan Naggar - So true! 

Liz and Bill Spear - I agree with you 100%.  Like you, I do try to post quality stuff (to the best of my ability).  I don't want to leave a bunch of rants, raves, and Dear Diary crap! 

Jeff Dowler, CRS - It will also be important to revisit those wills and documents periodically.  Life sends changes our way that mandate it!

May 30, 2019 08:33 AM #21
Ambassador
2,800,916
Anna Banana Kruchten CRB, CRS 602-380-4886
Phoenix Property Shoppe - Phoenix, AZ
Arizona's Top Banana!

Myrl this is always a great subject to review yearly! We just updated our trust and we're working on all the other online info syncing so we have a clear footprint. Hopefully no diasater happens but if it did I don't want to leave a hot mess for somebody to clean up!

May 30, 2019 08:58 AM #22
Rainmaker
5,263,830
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Congratulations, Myrl, on your feature recognition.

This is a very good reminder to share.

May 30, 2019 09:01 AM #23
Rainmaker
76,807
Dario Ferreira
Attleboro, MA
Internet Marketing

Very important subject - thanks for bringing attention to it.

A very handy stand-alone program is Password Safe (https://pwsafe.org/). It encrypts and safely stores all your passwords and notes.
You just need one master password/passphrase to access all your passwords.

Simply give the master pw to trusted people and you are all set.

This program is not a browser add-on or plugin, so it will not auto-fill your passwords for you. 

You can have it installed in several computers also. You just have to backup from one installation and import (encrypted file) from another.

May 30, 2019 09:38 AM #24
Rainmaker
3,522,136
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good afternoon again Myrl. Just one more thing to tend to. I know it is hard but it is important.

May 30, 2019 10:02 AM #25
Rainmaker
3,240,798
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello Marl - a topic that although uncomfortable needs discussion. 

May 30, 2019 03:05 PM #26
Ambassador
3,742,292
George Souto
George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages - Middletown, CT
Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert

Myrl I have created an e-mail folder with all of my usernames and password.  I did not do it for the purpose of creating a digital estate, but it could easily serve that purpose.

May 30, 2019 03:11 PM #27
Ambassador
3,042,729
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
RE/MAX Northwest. - Tacoma, WA
Tacoma Washington Agent/Broker & Market Authority!

 It’s never too late to review your digital footprint Myrl Jeffcoat 

May 30, 2019 04:56 PM #28
Rainmaker
1,403,717
Kat Palmiotti
Grand Lux Realty, Monroe NY, 914-419-0270, kat@thehousekat.com - Monroe, NY
The House Kat

It is important to have a plan for our digital assets, and to also review it periodically. Great reminder!

May 31, 2019 02:49 AM #29
Rainmaker
5,263,830
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Good Friday morning to all. Have a great day and an outstanding weekend.

May 31, 2019 04:23 AM #30
Rainmaker
3,187,419
Sally K. & David L. Hanson
EXP Realty 414-525-0563 - Brookfield, WI
WI Realtors - Luxury - Divorce

We have a trust...digitally speaking..This will be a tough job for Dini...may look into finding a replacement !

May 31, 2019 04:54 AM #31
Rainmaker
148,245
Eva B. Liland with Century 21 Doug Anderson
Century 21 Doug Anderson - Lancaster, CA
Glad to be of Service

Thanks for this very important reminder. Nobody wants to talk about it but everybody knows nobody lives forever.

May 31, 2019 06:27 AM #32
Rainer
291,830
Andrea.B Ferreira 954-303-8289 CRS
Keyes Co. - Davie, FL
Miami Dade, Broward and Palm Beach County in FL

very good point.. thank you for sharing... we have such crazy day-by-day and that is easy to forget and very important to be remembered.  Have great weekend 

May 31, 2019 07:46 AM #33
Rainmaker
1,526,273
Mike Cooper, GRI
Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Neighborhood Real Estate Sales Pro

Mryl, this topic has come up a few times online, and I always find myself agreeing with the need to have a plan in place, and I still haven't done anything. I need to get on that. I do have a will, but it was written before I had much of a web-presence.

May 31, 2019 01:19 PM #34
Rainmaker
966,685
Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Interesting post and very useful information.  I have a directive and a list of passwords right where my kids can find it in a metal filing cabinet.  It's online and if I change it, it's printed again.  So very important to allow heirs access to bank accounts, etc to act on our behalf.  My brother passed a year ago and his kids tell me they were clueless.   Very sad and harder for them to have to locate all of that stuff!  Great post!

Jun 03, 2019 06:34 PM #35
Rainer
4,666
Ian Ruzow
Oak Tree Development Group - Lancaster, PA
Ian Ruzow is principal and co-founder of Oak Tree

so important - not enough people think about this

Jun 05, 2019 04:10 AM #36
Rainer
4,666
Ian Ruzow
Oak Tree Development Group - Lancaster, PA
Ian Ruzow is principal and co-founder of Oak Tree

fascinating read!

Jun 05, 2019 04:18 AM #37
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Rainmaker
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Myrl Jeffcoat

Greater Sacramento Real Estate Agent
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