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Your digital afterlife: Planning for your online legacy

On Behalf of | May 7, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Gone are the days when estates were just about houses and cars. Today, a big part of our lives exists online. Social media profiles, email accounts and even digital photos –are all considered digital assets, and just like your physical belongings, they need to be considered in your estate plan.

Why is this important? Let’s break down what digital estate planning involves and why you don’t want to ignore it.

What’s in your digital vault?

Think about all the places you store information online. Social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram or Twitter hold not just photos and posts, but also messages and connections to loved ones. Online storage services like Dropbox or Google Drive might contain important documents, financial records or even creative works. Do you own any cryptocurrency like Bitcoin? These all fall under the umbrella of digital assets.

Why plan for your digital life?

Here’s the thing: when you pass away, access to these digital accounts isn’t always automatic for your loved ones. Social media platforms may have specific rules about memorializing accounts or granting access to others. Online storage services require knowledge of login information or security questions. Without a plan, your digital legacy could be lost or become inaccessible to those who want to preserve it.

Taking control of your digital assets

So, how do you get started with digital estate planning? Here are some key steps:

  • Make a list: Take inventory of all your online accounts and digital assets. Include usernames, passwords, and any answers to security questions in a secure document (but not on a public document like your will).
  • Designate a digital executor: Choose a trusted person to manage your digital assets after you’re gone. This person should be comfortable with technology and understand your wishes.
  • Review online account terms: Many online services have options for memorializing accounts or designating beneficiaries. Spend some time familiarizing yourself with these options and make any necessary updates.

By taking some simple steps now, you can ensure your loved ones are able to handle your digital assets according to your wishes. This can give your loved ones peace of mind and help them preserve your online legacy. Remember, your digital life is an important part of your overall story – plan for it and share your wishes with those you trust.