Digital estate planning refers to the process of organizing and managing one’s digital assets and online accounts in preparation for incapacitation or death. In the Digital Age, individuals tend to accumulate a significant amount of digital property, including:
- Email accounts
- Social media profiles
- Online banking
- Digital files
Digital estate planning helps to ensure that these assets are properly managed and transferred according to an individual’s wishes in the event of their incapacitation – usually due to illness or injury – or death.
Clarity and access
If you are intrigued by the idea of digital estate planning, the first step you’ll want to take involves creating an inventory of your digital assets. Make a list of your online accounts, including email, social media, financial institutions, online shopping, cloud storage and any other relevant platforms. Include information such as usernames, passwords, security questions and two-factor authentication details.
To better ensure the security and accessibility of your digital assets, consider using a password manager. You’ll also want to designate a trusted person, such as a spouse, family member or executor, who can access your digital assets per the terms of your plan.
Finally, you’ll want to clarify your wishes for each digital asset. For example, you may want certain accounts to be closed, deleted, or memorialized or you may want certain files or photos to be transferred to specific individuals. Clearly communicate your preferences to better ensure that your wishes are honored.
Laws regarding digital assets and estate planning both vary by jurisdiction and are evolving rapidly, so seeking legal guidance can help you to navigate the process effectively and better ensure that your digital legacy is managed according to your wishes.