Digital estate planning is becoming an increasingly urgent concern. To better ensure that your digital assets and online presence are properly managed and protected after your passing, it’s important to add digital planning terms to an existing estate plan or to craft a first-time estate plan with digital realities in mind.
A failure to engage in digital estate planning could leave your loved ones with a mess to unravel and could leave the management of all aspects of your digital estate within the state’s control, not yours.
Preservation and access to digital assets
Digital assets encompass a wide range of valuable items stored in digital formats, including:
- Financial Accounts: Online banking and investment accounts, digital payment platforms, cryptocurrencies and other financial assets may hold significant value. Without proper planning, accessing and managing these assets can become challenging or even impossible for loved ones.
- Intellectual Property: Digital assets like creative works, domain names and trademarks may hold substantial value. Proper planning ensures that these assets are transferred or managed according to your wishes, preserving their integrity and potential income streams for your beneficiaries.
- Personal Digital Property: Personal files, photos, videos and sentimental items stored on computers, smartphones and/or cloud storage platforms have emotional value. Digital estate planning allows you to designate who should (and should not) have access to these digital memories.
When crafting a digital estate plan, make sure to consider a broad view of your digital footprint.
Privacy and security concerns
Digital estate planning also addresses privacy and security concerns associated with someone’s online presence, including:
- Social Media and Online Accounts: By specifying how you want your social media accounts, email accounts, and other online profiles to be managed or memorialized, you can protect your privacy and prevent unauthorized access.
- Digital Privacy and Sensitive Information: Ensuring that your digital information, including passwords and login credentials, is stored securely and accessible to designated individuals can help prevent identity theft or misuse of personal information.
- Digital Legacy and Reputation: Digital estate planning allows you to specify how you want your digital legacy to be managed, including whether you want accounts deactivated, memorialized or passed on to someone else.
By engaging in digital estate planning, you can better ensure that your loved ones can carry out your wishes regarding your digital legacy.