With the advent of online purchases, banking and social media, we create a ton of accounts that we may no longer maintain and even forget about. Some have recurring charges – monthly or annually. Some haven’t been accessed since they were set up. Can you say, “A O L?” It’s difficult enough to keep track of our own accounts and profiles, even with helpful encrypted password tools such as LastPass. But think about your parents and older relatives. Especially those who you participate in their care – whether locally or at a distance.
And Boomers, you convinced your parents the computer and internet were good tools. You or your kids helped them program their smart phones, and even got them squared away with Netflix, Amazon Prime and Echo. These loved ones are going to continue to age, or there may be a sudden illness that removes their ability to maintain all of these digital assets and accounts. Heck, you’ll age too and you want to have tools in place to make it easier for your loved ones and co-workers to handle your transition.
Coming from a family whose mother had Alzheimer’s, I know how difficult it is to keep tabs on what they do when you are not with them. There are six of us kids, we were all nearby AND we had a healthcare worker come to the house four days a week.
At some point, they won’t remember how many things they signed up for. For that matter – do YOU remember every site you’ve ever given your permission to accept payment from your credit card for an item, service, app or subscription? The seniors requiring occasional or daily care in their homes are completely vulnerable to online slimeballs, sometimes unscrupulous caretakers, neighbors, door-to-door vendors and even long-time friends can turn. This is where a plan becomes necessary before you can no longer have access to what they have done and to see who is billing them quietly behind the scenes. You need to be armed with information and tactics to protect them and their legacy, your company and your own estate.
Let’s assume you can have this conversation with them and that they trust you. Without these pieces, this won’t work. If you are not in that position, you may need to bring in their attorney or trusted financial advisor. This is a good time to make the same plan for yourself, too. You need to figure out who will have the keys to your online presence if you are out of the picture or incapacitated for a period of time, or permanently. Not fun thoughts, but responsible ones that can affect your financial security and that of your legacy.