Digital assets may be an integral part of your life, encompassing everything from social media accounts to online financial records. As you start estate planning to secure your legacy, you should extend this consideration to your digital footprint.
Protecting your digital assets while estate planning is similar to including traditional assets in your will. However, there are some differences you should be aware of to make sure you account for these assets in your estate plan.
Take inventory of your digital presence
Begin by creating a comprehensive inventory of your digital assets. According to U.S. Banks, digital assets can include social media accounts, subscription services, email accounts, online banking accounts, credit card accounts, photo and video sharing accounts and more.
Use your will to specify digital asset presence
When drafting your will, include provisions for your digital assets. Outline how you want to handle these assets, whether by giving them to specific individuals or giving someone the authority to manage and close these accounts on your behalf.
Understand terms of service agreements
Familiarize yourself with the terms of service agreements for the digital platforms you use. Some platforms have specific policies about the transfer or management of accounts after a user’s passing. Complying with these policies can help streamline the process of handling digital assets during estate administration.
Consider appointing a digital executor
Designate a trusted individual as your digital executor. This person will be responsible for carrying out your wishes regarding your digital assets. Provide them with the necessary information and instructions to ensure a seamless transition and management of your digital presence.
Digital assets and online platforms evolve over time. Review and update your digital estate plan to reflect changes in your online presence, including new accounts, changed passwords or modifications to your wishes regarding specific digital assets.