Tag Archives: death

Everyone needs a will. Do you have one?

It is critically important for everyone to have a will.  If you don’t have one, your wishes may not be carried out.  Why? 

First of all,  every state has laws covering what is called “dying intestate” (without a will).  These rules strictly dictate who will receive what from your estate. 

Let’s look at one example.  You have two children.  The first child worked his way through college and didn’t take any money from you.  You paid all of the fees associated with the second child getting a degree and consider that money an advance on that child’s future inheritance.  So you would like the first child to receive 75% of your assets and the second to get only 25%.  However, when you die, you do not have a will which specifies this.  According to the laws in many states, both of your children will share equally in your estate.

You may feel sentimental about some of your possessions.  Maybe you have a few special pieces of jewelry and know to which member of your family you wish to give each one.  Without a will, your wishes don’t count.

A will is also a good place to specify what you want your family to do with your body after you die.  Perhaps you wish to be buried; however, they may not know and this and may cremate your body instead.

This week, I read two interesting blogs which reminded me of  how important a subject this is.  Both, interestingly enough, come from outside of the United States. 

 The first comes from Ghana and begins by talking about the late Colonel Momar Khadafi  You may not care what Khadafi’s wishes were or that they were not carried out despite the fact that he had a will.  However, later the blog talks about the writer’s father and how he set the precedent for everyone in his village to have a will. 

The second was written by a woman in British Columbia and is a sad story about a man who told his former doctor, and later friend, about his wishes.  However, he didn’t write them in a formal will.  When he died, the doctor contacted the coroner to try to ensure that the wishes were carried out.  Instead, the man’s body was turned over to the Public Guardian and Trustee (a government group) and his wishes were disregarded.

Consider getting your will written today.  Not only will it make it easier for your wishes to be carried out but will remove an extra burden from your family members when you die.

 For more information about this subject and other related topics check out our book “Die Smart, 11 Mistakes That Cost Your Family Money When You Die”.

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MySpace – Does this digital space stay mine forever?

The simple answer is yes.  If no action is taken, your account will remain in cyberspace forever.

However, the MySpace account of someone who is deceased can be cancelled by their next of kin (mother, father, spouse, domestic partner, son or daughter).  That person will need to send proof of death (obituary or death certificate) to accountcare [Email address: accountcare #AT# support.myspace.com - replace #AT# with @ ].  That email should come from the personal email account of the person who is writing.  It should include an explanation of that person’s relationship to the deceased and the deceased’s MySpace friend ID (which can be found by clicking on the profile and copying the string of numbers or letters at the end of the URL) as well as the specific request to delete the profile.

Other options available are to preserve the profile as is or to remove some of the content that may no longer be appropriate.  MySpace will be glad to remove any content that is found objectionable.

Another choice is to create a memorial for the deceased – a group page to honor that person.  That page is then linked to the deceased’s MySpace profile.

If there is access to the email account tied to the deceased’s MySpace profile, the password can be obtained thru the Forgot Password link located on the MySpace home page.  If there is no access, the password will not be provided by MySpace.

To learn more about how to protect digital assets, check on our book “Grave Robbers…How to stop identity theft of the deceased.”

PayPal – How can I cancel a deceased’s online account?

Only the executor of the estate can close a PayPal account that is held in the name of the deceased.  To do so, the executor must fax the following documentation to 402-537-5732: 

1) A cover sheet that says the account holder is deceased and the executor wishes to close the account.

2) A copy of the account holder’s death certificate.

3) A copy of the deceased account holder’s will or other legal documentation that provides verification about the executor.

4) A copy of a photo ID of the executor.

The faxed documentation will be reviewed and, if approved, the account will be closed.  If funds are available in the account, a check will be issued in the account holder’s name, and the Executor of the Estate will then have the ability to cash the check.

What if somone wants the deceased’s password or access to the account?

According to PayPal, any requests for information about an account other than to close it must be obtained through a subpoena.

To learn more about digital accounts, check out our book “Grave Robbers…How to prevent identity theft of the deceased”.

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If the account is not cancelled, it will probably just remain inactive forever.

Facebook – Do you remain in cyberspace forever?

If a loved one has left his or her login information – user name and password – where you can find it, there’s no problem. All you have to do is the following:

1) Open the account that you want to delete.

2) Go to Account Settings.

3) Look for the Deactivate Account button at the bottom of the page.

4) Just click on it and the account is deactivated.

Another option is to memorialize the account.  This means that certain sensitive information is removed from the account and privacy is set so only confirmed friends can see the profile or locate it in a search.  The Wall remains so these friends and family can leave posts in remembrance.  To memorialize an account, go to http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2Fhelp%2Fcontact.php%3Fshow_form%3Ddeceased&h=e5091bd54d848d4ca97832694b87dcd0.  This will bring up a list of Facebook FAQs; one of them says “I’d like to report a deceased user or an account that needs to be memorialized.”  Within that FAQ is a link to the correct form where you will need to enter the information requested.

Facebook says  “that in order to protect the privacy of the deceased user, we cannot provide login information for the account to anyone.”  They do claim to honor requests from close family members to close the account completely; however, we were unable to find any information on how to do so. 

Perhaps the deceased’s account will remain in cyberspace forever!

If you’d like to learn more about digital assets, check out our book “Grave Robbers…How to prevent identity theft of the deceased.”