Even before the pandemic, The Tyra Law Firm was a mostly virtual law practice. Sure, we still have an office downtown, but we like to use technology to keep our practice versatile. That way, we are able to serve families that are too busy to come downtown in the middle of a workday. By using a variety of different tools, we are able to serve our clients when and where they are. It's one of the things our clients love most about us. But, even for a techie like me, this pandemic has me searching for new and better tools to continue serving our clients from home.
The more new tools I use, the more online accounts I have to create. That means more passwords to remember, more usernames to create, and the broader an online presence I have to track. All of these virtual operations got me thinking, if this is getting a little overwhelming for me, a self-admitted tech nerd, then surely it's getting out of hand for others. And they may seem like an unlikely pairing, but organizing your online accounts and preparing your estate plan actually go hand-in-hand.
How Your Estate Plan Can Help You Keep Track of Your Passwords
Hear me out. I know it may seem like I think the solution to everything is a good estate plan, but — I actually do! I've written before on this blog about how you can use your estate plan to manage your digital afterlife. In that post, I focused on how your online presence will live on after you pass. By incorporating your digital life into your estate plan, you can take control of your online assets (like emails, social media profiles, and virtually-stored photos, videos, documents, and music). But, there's an amazing side benefit to putting all these accounts in one place. You have the opportunity to go through all of your digital assets and track your usernames, passwords, and account details all in one place. Sure, some of us are the types to use encrypted password trackers and the like, but the majority of us just use the same password for every account and rely on the “stored password” feature on our computers. How great would it be to spend a little time going through those accounts, creating a list, and using that living document to keep yourself organized? Sounds like a dream, huh?
Consider What Those Passwords are Protecting
In reality, however, going through this process of organizing your online accounts isn't really about the convenience of remembering your passwords. It's actually about something far more important. In our digital age, especially while many of us are working from home and are tied to our laptops, it's easy to forget how important the assets are that lie behind those passwords. We use online accounts to manage our businesses, to access our finances, to store our writings and communications and precious family photographs. What would happen if we were unable to manage these accounts? What if we became ill? Would our loved ones want or need access to these accounts to be able to pay bills, keep the electricity on, access medical records, view beloved home videos, or manage the family business?
The Future of Estate Planning
As more and more of our lives move online, we are in need of more and more planning and protection surrounding our online assets. That's why it's so important to incorporate digital assets into your estate plan. And what better time to start doing so than right now, when we are spending more time at home and online than ever before? You can even start the old-fashioned way, by taking notes on a sheet of paper as you log onto your accounts today. Make note of each online account, your user name, password, and what assets or information are stored on that account. It will not only help you navigate your online life more easily, but it will help you begin to create a digital estate plan that will help your loved ones, too.
To talk about how you can incorporate digital assets into your estate plan, and to learn more about estate planning during the pandemic, feel free to reach out! Our office number is (301) 315-0811.