5 things you need to know to protect your online identity after you pass away

Since so much of our lives are lived online these days, it makes sense to consider what happens to sensitive info -- like your passwords -- after you pass on.

Just like writing a will, you might not want to think about it. But your loved ones may thank you for it later.

USA Today contributor Regina Lewis, who often writes on cyber and consumer issues, joined us with the 5 things you need to know to protect your online identity after you pass away.

1. Make an inventory of all of your digital assets (include documents, photos, data stored on drives, and passwords to every online account).

2. Decide who should have access to this information (consider that you may have data or photos you don't necessarily want a loved one to see).

3. Assign a digital executor (spell out what you want to happen to your online assets); provide your login data to this person.

4. Check the fine print, about what happens to your online service provider(s) -- of the major ISPs, only Google currently will allow someone to 'inherit' access to your account. Other major providers will shut down an account after receiving death info.

5. For social media sites, it's a mixed bag; Facebook with 'freeze' an account for a short amount of time, allowing friends to post memorial messages. LinkedIn allows an heir to shut down an account, but won't let you preserve data from the site. Twitter needs proof that an account holder has died; it will also 'consider' whether it will allow you to remove images of the decedent from other twitter accounts. Amazon & Apple won't let an heir 'inherit' any materials the account holder bought (videos, music, ebooks, etc.)