What happens to an on-line account when you die?

That’s a question few people ever consider.   But it’s one that is increasingly important.

On-line services like electronic bill-pay, shopping and social media are just too new.  I would want my spouse to be able to continue to pay bills electronically.  I would have no problem if someone wanted to look at my e-mail, Facebook or Twitter accounts.  But a recent Associated Press article pointed out that most companies “terms of service” agreements (those things that no one ever reads before clicking on the “I agree button”) prohibit anyone from accessing an account that isn’t theirs.

In fact, parents have been blocked from accessing their children’s Yahoo and Facebook accounts after their children’s unexpected deaths.

There may even be a great deal of value in on-line accounts.  Who ends up owning a picture collection, music files stored on-line or the digital files of a celebrity?  It’s a question that courts and legislators are beginning to address.

In the meantime, provide the people you trust with access to the accounts you want them to see in case of your death.  And don’t put things like account numbers and passwords in your will.  Wills are public records.

For more information about the records you should leave behind, click on the link for BEFORE I GO, and send for a copy of the workbook.

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