Friday, April 25, 2014

Who's Your DE?


Judith Kolbeg, Fileheads and the Georgia Chapter of the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO), gave a great teleclass last week on Information Afterlife and Digital Estate Planning. We all have digital assets that will continue to have an existence after we die. What is going to happen to all this data?

The first step for all of us is to make a list of what we have. Email accounts, social media accounts, and picture files come first to mind. But what about our web sites, our domain names, our blog sites, or our online financial accounts and memberships? The list can get rather lengthy. Where are these assets? how are they accessed?

Next, develop a digital estate plan. This will detail your wishes concerning all of your digital assets. What do you want done with them after you die? It is a good idea to then review your plan with your accountant, lawyer, and anyone else involved in the disposition of your "regular" estate.

Now, enlist a digital executor (DE). This person will work with your executor or could even be the same person. It is important that your DE is digitally knowledgeable and knows what they are taking on. This can be a pretty time intensive job. Your DE will need access to your passwords, user codes, and security questions in order to get into your accounts. They will need to get into all accounts with automatic deposits, withdrawals, transfers, or debits. If you own a business, they will need to access your lists of clients, vendors, and financials. They will need the contact information of your accountant if you use one.

Putting together this plan can look overwhelming. I would consider chunking it into smaller tasks and putting some dates on your calendar to get started on it. We never know when we will need to have this in place.

Jonda S. Beattie
Professional Organizer

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