What Happens to Digital Accounts When You Die?

Facebook login screenSocial media is great, since it lets you can connect with faraway friends and family.  MP3s and online television networks like Hulu and Netflix are fun as well, since they give you the opportunity to enjoy music and television programs on any device and on your schedule.  Of course, let’s not forget about how great email is. Write a message, hit send and it’s off.

Have you ever given any thought to what will happen to your digital accounts when you die?  Like most people, you probably haven’t given much thought to your digital accounts, since it isn’t a physical thing or even an asset.  Still, it is something that you need to consider because your online accounts don’t just disappear when you die. According to Intel Security, the average person has 27 different logins.  Yikes! That’s a lot of passwords to manage, so it would make sense to set up a plan for your digital assets after your death.

The first thing you need to do is have a document drafted by your attorney authorizing companies that hold your digital information to disclose the information to your executor or other representative.  This authorization can be included in your will, so that your executor can request a copy of the contents of your digital accounts.

Once you have done that, you can also do the following:

1. Make a list of Passwords

If you haven’t already done so, make a list of your all your digital accounts from email to social media and everything in between. It is a good idea to write this in an address book or type your passwords and put them in a binder. While there are online services that will save passwords for you, it is better to go the old fashioned route since online services can be hacked, making your confidential information vulnerable. Also, if you keep your information in a computer without printing it out, your executor can’t get a hold of it.  Paper will allow people to access the online sites you use with a minimum of trouble.  Be sure to list your username, passwords and the security questions and answers (i.e. Where did you attend school in the third grade?). Also, if anything should happen to you and you become incapacitated, family members can have a way to access your accounts to make such there is no unusual activity.

2. Don’t Overlook Social Media

Since Facebook and Twitter are the most used social media sites, I will focus on those. If you have an account on Facebook, you can have your account memorialized, meaning that people can post messages, but no one can access the account. In addition, you can request the removal of a loved one’s account from Facebook.  You need to provide Facebook with a scan of the death certificate.  If you don’t have the death certificate, Facebook accepts a power of attorney, birth certificate, Will or estate letter. You can learn more by going to Facebook’s Help Center at https://www.facebook.com/help.

It is less complicated for Twitter.  You can sign into the Twitter account, go to Account Settings, read the account deactivation, then Click Okay, fine, deactivate account.  Enter the password when prompted and verify that you want to deactivate the account.  More information can be found on Twitter’s Support Center at https://support.twitter.com. For other social media platforms, go to the support/help section of the site for information about closing accounts.

3. Don’t Forget Financial/Shopping Sites

Most computer users have online banking, shopping, news or other accounts, including online bill pay. What will happen to those accounts to when you die?  For both Amazon and eBay, you have to contact them to close an account.  For online bill pay and brokerage accounts, go to the help center of the site in question to find out how to close the account.

Our online accounts have become like a shoebox under the bed.  Yet, unlike the shoebox, spouses and children can’t just open up your account without the right information.  Protect yourself, your personal information and your assets by making sure your loved ones or executor have the emails, ID’s and passwords to access what they need to in order to close out your accounts when the time comes.




Checklist for Hiring an in Home Care Provider

Home Care Provider & Elder Care Attorney in Bucks CountyMost people prefer to stay in their own home where they are comfortable, secure, and can be independent, rather than receive care in an assisted living/personal care facility.

However, if your loved one decides to remain in his or her home, support can be provided by a home health care provider. Home health care providers offer a wide range of services to ensure that your loved one is well cared for.. When you begin looking for the right home health care provider for your loved one, consider the following list of tips to help you find the right caregiver.

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Common Scams Targeting Seniors

Senior Woman Giving Credit Card Details On The PhoneWe try to protect the older members of our families. We look in on them when we can, we advise them to keep their homes secure, we make sure they get to their doctor’s appointments.

But in some cases, threats to senior citizens can come from people half a world away.

Financial scams targeting seniors are – unfortunately – everywhere these days. Here are some of the most common, according to the National Council on Aging.

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5 Ways to Help Your Loved One Avoid Loneliness

Lonely old man staring out of a windowLoneliness has become a common hardship for seniors who live alone or who do not have the ability to leave their homes on a regular basis. With an increasing number of seniors living alone, isolation has become a growing concern for caregivers and loved ones. Social isolation can be dangerous for seniors, negatively impacting their mental and physical health, according to a Place for Mom. However, loneliness can be diminished, allowing seniors to live a more fulfilling and happy life.

Here are 5 ways to help your elderly loved one avoid feeling lonely.

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What is Undue Influence and How an Elder Law Attorney Can Help

When a person has diminished mental capacity, is ill or isolated, they become more vulnerable to those who might do them harm.

At times, people take advantage of those who are elderly or vulnerable for financial gain or control over assets. One form of exploitation is undue influence.

Undue influence is not typically considered a crime in and of itself, but acts as the means for committing a crime. It is commonly recognized by the misuse of one’s influence to substitute his or her own will for the will of another. The influencer takes advantage of his or her position of power over another person and the consequences can be very destructive.

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Helping Older Adults Overcome the Holiday Blues

During the holiday season, many people experience sadness, especially older adults. Memories of family and friends who have passed on or the longing for family holidays of the past can cause them to feel isolated even when they are with family.

Often when elderly loved ones live alone, the warning signs of sadness and seasonal depression go unnoticed. During the holiday season, pay close attention to your older loved ones and watch for the warning signs of holiday blues: persistent sadness, feelings of worthlessness or helplessness, weight changes, withdrawal from social activities, slowed thinking or response, inability to concentrate, and excessive worrying.

If you sense that your elderly loved ones are unhappy, follow the tips below to help brighten the holiday season for them:

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5 Things to Consider When Writing Your Will

Facing your own mortality is difficult, but don’t let the anxiety of what is to come stop you from planning for the future. The most basic part of your estate plan is a will that identifies your fiduciary or executor and what should be done with your assets after your death.

A thorough will can ensure that your assets are used and distributed to the correct people or organizations and reduce any legal and family strife.

Once you have decided to create a will, keep these five things in mind:

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Summer Fun for Elders and Caregivers

Whether you enjoy staying active or reading a good book, remember to stay cool and enjoy the warm weather.

Whether you enjoy staying active or reading a good book, remember to stay cool and enjoy the warm weather.

The hot summer months can be hard for everyone, but especially seniors. Often it is advisable to stay indoors and keep cool in order to avoid heat related illnesses. Nevertheless, summer is a time to enjoy the warm weather and the activities that come with it.

How can you and your caregiver stay active and enjoy your summer while staying cool and healthy? Here are some tips and examples of senior friendly summer activities.

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Caregiver Appreciation

As we know, May is Older Americans month but let’s also remember to celebrate the more than 45 million family members who care for seniors on a daily basis. On average, these caregivers provide 20 hours of unpaid caregiving support each week.

Josh Fotheringham, a former Apple software designer and current CEO of Caring in Place®developed the Caring in Place® iPhone app and online portal to help family members manage the complexities of caring for their aging loved ones.

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Older Americans Month


Each May, the nation celebrates Older Americans Month to recognize older Americans for their contributions and also to provide them with information to help keep them active and healthy. This year’s theme is injury prevention – Safe Today. Healthy Tomorrow.

Older Americans, age 65+, are at a much higher risks for injuries, violence and even death than the younger population. This year’s focus on keeping older Americans safe and healthy aims to change current statistics.


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