With identity theft rampant in the digital age, it’s never been more important to keep proper track of your assets and accounts, and making sure that someone you trust is also aware in case help is necessary. The following is a list of 13 ways to help organize your world.
(This information should also be shared for the most part with your accountant, attorney and financial advisor as a precaution in case you become unable to act or pass on suddenly.)
1. List all of the accounts, logins, passwords and websites you use, including email accounts.
2. List social media, including login and passwords for Facebook, LinkedIn Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, etc. Be aware that each social-media site has a different set of rules governing how to close an account and remove the profile of a deceased user. Some are relatively easy while others may require a copy of an obituary notice or even a death certificate. For more information on who gets access to a deceased person's digital accounts including state by state laws on access to digital accounts after death check this report from the Pew Research Center.
3. List any sites including logins and passwords you use to purchase or sell products and services like eBay, Amazon , Craigslist, Zappos, etc.
4. List all credit cards and retailers where you have open accounts.
5. List all business- and service-related online accounts like banking, utilities, cable, phone, Internet, etc., including logins and passwords.
6. List all accounts in which you use automatic transfers or payments via a credit card or checking account withdrawal. Discuss with your spouse or family as to whether you want these accounts closed or transferred when the time comes.
7. List the contact person, if you have one, at each account, as well as passwords and login information and make sure to include all financial, banking and credit-card sites. These are areas that have the biggest possibility of creating problems if you are not available or able to act.
8. Instruct the appropriate person (family member or friend) whether you wish some kind of message or notification sent out via your social-media sites including various alumni list-serves indicating your passing or incapacitation.
9. Provide a copy of this information to your spouse/family and to your accountant and attorney along with instructions of how these matters should be handled.
10. Indicate the location of your will, any vehicle title, title to property, mortgage documents (even if they are paid in full), loans owed or payable to you, insurance policies, tax documents (owed or due).
12. Include a recent financial statement, if you have one. If you do not have one prepare one.
13. Include the names and contact information of your accountants, lawyers, advisors, physicians, insurance agents and all professionals with whom you do business.
It is important to protect credit and assets against "ghosting" in which an identity thief steals the identity of a dead person.
If you wish to download or print a form listing your assets and where they are located you can do so here.