The Importance of Digital Estate Planning
Published on July 18, 2022
The use of smartphones, laptops, tablets, and other electronic gadgets has become an integral part of our daily lives. Often, we use these devices to access bank accounts, emails, online marketplaces, or to interact with family and friends on social media.
However, most people do not realize that mobile devices and personal computers store files and records that are vital digital assets. For this reason, digital assets should form part of a will when drafting an estate plan.
This article will help you to understand how digital estate planning can help reduce stress if you are incapacitated or suddenly pass away.
Understanding Digital Estate
Your digital estate is a collection of all resources you own or use on online platforms. Generally, a digital estate may include;
Social media accounts
Online banking accounts
Online subscription accounts
Digital files: photos, music, videos, flash files
Online gaming or dating accounts
Personal information stored on mobile devices and computers
Appointing a Digital Executor
A digital executor is a legally authorized individual who manages your digital estate if you pass away or once you are incapacitated.
You can designate a digital executor in your will or draft a digital estate plan and include the executor’s name.
Their primary role is to ensure a safe closure or transfer of your digital estates and distribute them according to your wish.
Categories of Digital Assets in a Will
As mentioned above, digital assets include various electronic records and data files stored online, on personal computers, or mobile devices.
Although some digital assets have substantial financial value, some only have sentimental value. For instance, family photos shared with friends have sentimental value, but product photos listed on an eCommerce platform have a monetary value.
Below are the four main categories of digital assets:
They include all online accounts involving monetary transactions such as bank accounts, trading or investments accounts, and payment accounts.
They include accounts you use for general communication or chatting with friends and loved ones. Typical examples are email and social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Skype, and Instagram.
All digital files form an essential category of online property. They include your photos, videos, music, passwords, and documents.
You may own general assets that do not belong under online accounts or digital files. Examples of general assets include digital currency, loyalty points or rewards, and online subscriptions.
Compiling all your digital assets into a comprehensive estate plan is advisable, so your executor or family can easily manage them in your absence.
Securing Your Assets on a Digital Vault
A digital vault is a special online portal that safely stores all your digital assets in an organized format. These include social media accounts, online financial accounts, and digital files. You can also use the vault to secure all your passwords for easy access by your digital executor.
Digital Estate Planning Services
Digital estate planning calls for an organized asset management system with clear-cut instructions on handling your estate when you pass away.
The good news is that you can safely store your digital assets and keep track of all online accounts, thanks to estate planning services. In addition, you can draft an estate plan and incorporate it into your will for future execution.
Several service providers can help you in estate planning. These include:
LastPass: Do you wish to keep track of all your passwords for future retrieval? Last Pass is a reliable password managing tool for all online accounts.
Everplans: The service helps you create and manage a robust digital estate plan.
GoodTrust: You can safely store all your digital assets and protect your online legacy using GoodTrust.
Digital estate planning may sound like a tedious task, but it offers numerous benefits in the long run.
First, it helps you create a reliable inventory of all your digital assets for easy retrieval in the future. In addition, it gives your loved ones peace of mind since they will have clear-cut instructions on managing your digital assets when you pass away.
Digital estate planning also ensures you appoint an authorized executor to oversee all your digital accounts during incapacitation or death.
If you’ve never drafted a digital estate plan, there is no reason to wait any longer. Begin working on your estate plan so you protect your online legacy.
Published on July 18, 2022