Dana Gentry - Attorney

Dana Carlson Gentry, Esq., Board Certified in Wills, Trusts & Estates

What happens to your email account when you pass away? What about your online access to your bank accounts, especially if you have gone paperless to protect the environment? Have you written down all your user names and passwords and put these in a safe place for your heirs to access in the event of your death? If you haven’t, then your family may have a difficult time accessing all your information to take care of your estate upon your death.

Most states, including Florida, currently have no law authorizing family members to access these accounts online upon death, and the few that do require that a personal representative or executor be appointed to access them and a court order be obtained.  While you may have enough information to locate the bank account information, the bank may charge fees to obtain printed copies of the documentation. As for the email accounts and social networking accounts, you may never be able to access them in states that have not yet provided a mechanism to access the information, especially if the account belonged to a minor child.

So have a family meeting, collect this information updating it as needed to stay current, and keep these user names and passwords in a safe place at home so that your loved ones can take care of matters more easily upon your death.

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