Do your executors know your documents from your data?

Oct 12, 2015 | Tony Byrne's View

We live in a world that is now dominated by technology, and with our ever-increasing dependence upon our computers, smartphones and the internet in general we need to make sure, first, that we are secure in what we are doing, and second, that our information can be found if needed – namely by our executors when applying for probate.

Many investments and bank accounts now exist purely online and, with pressure to be green, paper statements are often a thing of the past. Therefore, how will your executors know what investments you hold and where? For savings accounts for which you receive paper statements this will be relatively straightforward, but your online accounts can be tricky to identify. Therefore, when creating a summary of your assets or thinking about making your executor’s job easier, plan for your digital information too – will your executor need your computer password to access accounting information stored on your computer or information that you keep on spreadsheets? What about online banking account numbers?

It is obviously not sensible to write down your login and password details together, as these can be lost or misused, but make sure your online information is accessible to your executors – even if you simply keep a list of the institutions you have online accounts with. Simple but effective administration in this area will not only ensure your executor can complete their role quickly and efficiently, but will also ensure your entire estate is passed to your loved ones, with no account going missing.

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