Our digital life, estate planning and reality

crystalballWe only recognize our reliance on the “cloud” when we lose power or our Internet connection is lost — just imagine how difficult it would be to navigate your own life without the online access to your bill pay, social media and email accounts.

With that in mind, can you imagine how frustrating it might be to a family member who has stepped in to assist you without access to any of your online accounts?

The National Clearinghouse for Long-Term Care Information reported that about 70% of Americans who live to age 65 will need long-term care at some time in their lives. However, this isn’t just a problem for seniors — we all have a story of someone in our lives that had a sudden (and hopefully recoverable) disability. If this were to happen to you, what have you done to ensure those around you have what they need to help?

Did you know that almost EVERY online account you use — from your online banking and email, to your pictures, music … will be shut down and the assets frozen upon your death? Now consider what might happen if you were incapacitated — know how many of these accounts will recognize a Durable Power of Attorney if a loved one requests access?  That number is zero.

Last month I wrote What’s in that Online User Agreement You Accepted? and a recent article in the Wicked Local Lexington discussed Navigating the Retirement Maze: Protecting your Digital Legacy — reinforcing the call to document and provide access to this information.

My difficulty in using the estate and financial plans my parents had set up fueled me to launch MemoryBanc to help caregivers collect and use this information to help their loved ones. What I found in my first year of business, is that this was problem was not a caregiver issue alone. Most of my clients are between 40 and 60 years old. We all know the term “no single point of failure” and that is what we are working to provide our clients with — backup solutions to help them easily find as well as share key information when it might be needed most.

When AARP Foundation recognized our solution last year, I was encouraged. I’m pleased to see that the estate and financial planning community is starting to recognize the pervasiveness of this issue — and we will only see it mushroom in the coming years as more and more adults hit this roadblock. Focused. 

I hope you will spend the next five minutes documenting your usernames and pass codes so a loved one could help you, should the information ever be needed. 


One thought on “Our digital life, estate planning and reality

Leave a Reply