What happens to your digital world after you’re gone?

Got email? These days, our email accounts are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of our online presence. From bank accounts to Facebook, PayPal and more, a good chunk of our personal and financial lives are online.

If you fail to account for those digital assets in your estate plan, you risk burying your family or friends in red tape as they try to get access to and deal with your online accounts that may have sentimental, practical or monetary value.

One potential problem with failing to plan for these assets is that your executor will have a hard time tracking everything down. That could mean some of your assets are simply lost, says Kelly Pedersen, founder of Caissa Wealth Strategies in Minneapolis.

That also could put your estate at risk for hacking or fraud, Pedersen says. “Typically your PayPal is hooked up to your bank account. Same with your Amazon account — that’s hooked up to a credit card,” she says. If your executor doesn’t know about these accounts to close them, the accounts could get hacked without anyone knowing — ultimately your estate could be paying for the losses.

Andrea Coombes’ article – How to include your digital assets in your estate plan – describes what you need to do now.