Your digital estate might be bigger than you realize. As computers and the internet have become an increasingly important part of everyday life, digital estate planning has also become more important. If you haven’t given any thought to your digital estate planning, now is the time to get started.
Will Your Loved Ones Be Able to Access Your Devices and Accounts?
We’re told to keep our passwords secure. Unfortunately, when someone passes, this security can backfire. If you haven’t told anyone your passwords or written them down anywhere, it’s possible that no one will be able to access important accounts and devices. As a result, they may not be able to close accounts, cancel memberships and subscriptions or obtain important financial and insurance information.
Just think about everything that you keep passwords for:
- Your computer, smartphones and other devices
- Your email accounts
- Your social media accounts
- Your online banking and credit card accounts
- Your insurance accounts
- Your online television and movie streaming accounts
- Your online shopping accounts
Will Your Digital Assets Be Lost?
After someone dies, the deceased’s family may need to get into accounts to get important financial and insurance information or to retrieve valuable digital assets. Not being able to access devices and accounts can lead to countless headaches. Some information could be lost forever.
Here are some of the digital assets that many people have:
- Photos and videos that you’ve taken
- Websites that you own
- Computer code that you’ve developed
- Material that you’ve written, such as novels, screenplays, short stories, essays or poems
- Digital currency
Creating Your Digital Estate Plan
By creating a digital estate plan, you can ensure that your family is able to access your important financial and insurance records and that none of your digital assets are lost.
- Make a list of all the online accounts and digital assets you have. Spend some time on this, as you might have more accounts and assets than you realize.
- Decide what you want to happen to your digital assets. Which accounts will need to be accessed for financial and practical purposes? What do you want to happen to your social media accounts? Who do you want to get your photos and any other intellectual property you own? Make your wishes clear, just as you would with your other assets.
- Name a digital executor, the person who will be responsible for managing your digital estate.
- Make sure your digital executor will know how to access your digital assets and accounts. To do this, the executor will need to know the websites, usernames and passwords. Keep this information stored safely – password security is still important.
- Update your digital estate plan as needed. Over the years, you will create new accounts, gain new digital assets and change your passwords. Be sure to add this information to your digital estate plan.
Talk to Skinner Law about making digital assets part of your estate plan.