Digital estate planning

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — CPA Garrett Wagner discussed digital estate planning and what that means for online accounts Monday during News 8 at Sunrise.

“We’re talking about all of your online records and accounts from Facebook, iTunes, and so on, and so forth,” said Wagner. “They’re getting more and more complex, and people need to start thinking about them before they pass away.”

Wagner explained that each online digital account is different. “Each one is governed by those annoying user agreements that we never bother to read,” he said. “Facebook is a prime example. So Facebook started a couple of years ago having memorialized pages. You can nominate a legacy contact so when you pass away they can manage your account. And you can have it memorialized, so it lives on forever or you can have it deleted when you pass away. Friends can still see your page, they can still post things on your page, but your name and records won’t show up in searches anymore, and then after your name, it will say ‘deceased,’ so people know that you are no longer living.”

Each online account has to be reviewed on a case by case basis. “Amazon has their own rules; iTunes, Google Drive, Microsoft Drive, they’ve all got their own rules and you’ve got to figure out how to navigate those as you go forward,” Wagner said.

Once you’ve got a handle on the user agreements, put your wishes in writing. “Put in your will,” said Wagner. “Put these digital records in your will. What do you want to happen? Another great way to do it, online password management tools also allow you to create a legacy contact, so when you pass away, they can access your account – once again, making it easier for someone to get in there and organize your life once you pass away.”

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