Social media accounts are usually last on a person’s list when it comes to planning their estate – but they shouldn’t be. Not only could overlooking them mean a loss of sentimental value for your loved ones but it could pose challenges if they need to access your digital property when you pass away.
How can I plan my digital legacy?
Why do I need to create a plan for my digital assets?
It’s possible that your documents allow your executor to take over your digital assets. However administering an estate takes time. Your executor will need to present your estate plan to each individual company before they can gain access. Coded financial accounts can be especially time-consuming to gain access. A backup plan can simplify this process.
What accounts should I be concerned about?
Ultimately it is up to you to decide which of your digital assets you want to include in your digital plan. Social media accounts, emails, blogs and websites can be a good starting point for most people. If you have any digital financial accounts such as PayPal, banking, insurance, digital currency or retirement they may also be a good idea to include in your instructions to loved ones.
How can I create a digital estate plan?
Here’s how you can set your loved ones up for success if they need to access your digital assets.
Include a digital assets clause in your estate plan.
Ask your estate planning attorney if there is a digital assets clause in your plan. Within a digital assets clause you to give an individual or individuals of your choosing the ability to gain access your accounts.
Write it down.
We encourage you to make a list of your digital property and their passwords and to store them with your estate planning documents. You can also store passwords in online safes such as Fidelity’s FidSafe. It can also be a good idea to let a family member or trusted friend know where you store these documents in case anything happens.
Some websites such as Facebook and Google allow you to designate an account manager if you pass away. By making these designations you can do your part in creating a thorough digital plan.
In the end your loved ones will be grateful that you took the extra step to plan for your online accounts. By discussing the future of your digital accounts with an estate planning attorney can ensure that you’ve covered all of your bases when it comes to your digital footprint.