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Wills 101

What Should I Do About OnLine Accounts?

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All online accounts are governed by the site's Terms of Service. 

To determine what to do about each account, consider the following steps:

  • First: Create an inventory of your accounts. The simplest way to do this is to write down all the websites you visit in a month that reqwuire log-in information.
  • Next: Write down all the sites in a secure document on your computer or in a notepad that you can store in a safe place. Be sure the people who will need to know will know about the file by putting a note with the original of your will and also letting the executor know where the file is. (Do not include the information in your will because a will becomes a public document once it is probated.) Include in the file the following information:
    • Name of the website
    • User name
    • Password
  • Check the Terms of Service for each account to determine what happens to the information in the account upon death
    • Instead of having to read through the entire Terms, look for a heading such as "License" (as in your are only granted a license to have the account during your lifetime) or "Death" or "Heirs"
    • Do not be surprised if you find that the account is closed upon death. 
    • If the acccount permits you to name a beneficiary, name one.
  • If you have an e mail account, unless the account allows you to name a beneficiary, write a letter to the site including a statement that you want your (executor)(specific heir) to be able to access your e mail account. Ask a witness to witness your signature. Store the letter in the same place as the other information about your websites.

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