What happens to all of our information that is stored “on the cloud” or on the web after death?
Recently, I had the pleasure of presenting as part of a panel at an Estate Planning Workshop organized by Christian Steinbock from Dominion Securities.
I was joined by Ms. Indra Bharat, Financial Planning Consultant with RBC and Mr. Ismail Barmania, Estates and Trust lawyer at Barmania-Lawyers.
It was an informative evening and as discussions continued regarding elder care issues and the importance of having Powers of Attorney in place, we also discussed wills and estates.
Technical advances over the last 20 years have been incredible. Internet activity and storage “on the cloud” make those of us who like to read a newspaper and remember getting newsprint on our hands, out of the loop.
Online identities and social media profiles are important assets.
For those who have not updated or created a will, there is much to consider including social media accounts and other online assets. In his article, on digital assets, Mr. Barmania indicates that online identities and social media profiles are important assets and are used to store information, documents, photos and as well, are used to participate in banking, commerce, auctions and other transactions.
Similarly, as he points out, commercial activities including online retailing and digital payments can raise both obligations and entitlements. He recommends that the Estate Trustee be named as successor on all online accounts and assets and from there, the accounts can either be “taken down” or can continue or modify the site or transfer the account.
He also shared the “Google Will,” also known as the “inactive account manager,” which allows all information to be deleted from the account or to designate someone else to take control of the account. I know that when I have seen a LinkedIn profile or Facebook page of someone who has died, it does make me stop and reflect.
What is online may stay online for a very long time. Consider listing of all your accounts and passwords in a safe place and tell your POA and Executor where it is!
Reprinted with permission by Audrey Miller, this feature was originally published at AllAboutEstates.ca.
Audrey Miller is the founder and Managing Director of Elder Caring Inc. in Toronto. Ms. Miller has a master’s degree in social work and is registered in Ontario, Canada. She is also a Geriatric Care Manager and a Canadian Certified Life Care Planner.