This Spring marks two of our favorite causes, supporting Dance for a Cure (benefitting the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and the Pete Gross House) and the Valley Girls + Guys 3Day Team (benefitting the Susan G. Komen Foundation). One reason why Cayce & Grove feels so strongly about supporting cancer research is that cancer has impacted each of us in one way or another. Each of us has been in the position of support family and friends as they embark on the process of fighting cancer and navigating the unexpected of bumps along the way. Over the next few months we will be posting information that we feel is relevant to consider during an individual’s course of treatment and fight against cancer or any other medical challenge for that matter.

One “bump” in the road includes what happens if the patient is unable to manage their own finances or electronic accounts during the course of treatment. Because so many of us rely upon email for communication and even file taxes, monitor various investments, and conduct our banking online this is a very relevant and valid concern that needs to be thought about ahead of time.

While online banking and bill paying are great tools, they present great concern too. Historically, if a client fell ill or was no longer able to access their accounts – their personal representative or family members were able to look through paper statements to gather information and care for the estate. Today, if an accident, medical condition, or medical treatment impacts the ability to manage accounts — enabling family and friends to help by planning ahead of time is beyond valuable.

The Seattle Times printed a great article by Patrick Marshall, speaking to this concern, you can find it here: Digital Estate Planning Often Forgotten

In short, the article advises the following: (1) Take a comprehensive inventory of all digital accounts and assets, (2) Assemble a list of all “user ID’s” and the accompanying password (remember to keep this current), (3) If you haven’t already, identify and establish your Power of Attorney, and (4) place the inventory in a place where your Power of Attorney will be able to retrieve it.

Think about these various “digital assets” when taking inventory: Computer Log-In, Financial Accounts (bank, stocks, tax, etc.), Voicemail, Online picture storage sites, Online pharmacy accounts, Cloud Storage, Web pages or blogs, Smartphones, Email accounts, Home-security systems, Social network accounts, Online sales and purchasing accounts, and any Intellectual–property rights.