We live in a digital world where bank accounts, credit cards, media and an abundance of other personal information can be accessed through some means of technology. While this accessibility can make life easier now, have you ever thought about what would happen to all your virtual content if your life suddenly ended?
Most people naturally consider tangible assets in their estate plans, but what about digital assets? Website URLs, email and social networking accounts, photos, movies, music; these are all valuable electronic possessions that should be included in any modern estate plan.
One of the most important things you should do now is prepare to pass along your passwords. It is imperative that you possess a private list of every user name and password for each of your online presences. This list should be updated anytime you create a new account or make a change. Some people simply keep a piece of paper with this information tucked away in a sock drawer. Another option is to maintain a password-protected spreadsheet, though make sure your spouse or other responsible party knows the password to access it. Some companies offer a type of online safe deposit box where you can securely store your passwords and assign beneficiaries.
Make sure your executor or a trusted personal representative knows how to access your information and fully understands the importance of handling your digital afterlife. The person should ideally be tech-savvy and aware of your online activity.
Do NOT document user names and passwords in your will, as it becomes public record when you die.
Designing Your Digital Legacy
Bequeathing your virtual goods can be a complicated matter, one that you may or may not be equipped to manage on your own. You not only need to make sure you act as a responsible custodian of your online presences now, but also create a comprehensive plan for redistributing assets or deleting accounts in the event of your death.
Keeping pace with an ever-changing technological landscape takes time and effort. It can be extremely valuable to have someone help you track the pulse of evolving tools and resources so that you stay prepared for whatever the future holds.
An expert lawyer will make sure that your digital afterlife is handled with just as much care as your physical bequests. When discussing wills and trusts, make sure you’re working with a lawyer who is committed to keeping up with current trends and technological advances. Antiquated legal advice can result in gaping holes in your estate plan, causing unnecessary stress and extra work for those you leave behind.
For help getting your digital house in order, contact Sherer Law Offices today for experienced and progressive estate planning advice.