Organizing Your Digital Assets
By proactively managing your digital assets, you not only contribute to a smoother transition for your heirs, but also demonstrate a forward-thinking approach to estate planning. Taking the time to address these digital considerations helps ensure that your legacy, both financial and personal, is preserved and passed on in a way that aligns with your wishes.
Here are some essential tips to help get you started:
Identify Your Digital Footprint
Begin by taking inventory of your digital assets. These can include everything from online financial accounts and social media profiles to subscriptions, digital photos, and important documents stored on cloud services. Knowing what comprises your digital footprint is the first step toward effective management.
Secure Your Financial Digital Assets
Protecting your online financial accounts is paramount. Ensure your heirs can access critical information by providing a secure list of account details, login credentials, and instructions on how to navigate these platforms. You may want to consider using a password manager, such as LastPass, Keeper, Dashlane, NordPass, or another digital vault application, to make the process easier.
Preserve Your Personal Digital Legacy
Digital photos, videos, and documents often hold sentimental value. To preserve your personal digital legacy, back up these files regularly. Cloud storage services or external hard drives are excellent options. Include instructions on how to access and download these files, making it easier for your loved ones to cherish the memories you’ve captured.
In 2023, the average person had around 100 passwords, according to proprietary password manager NordPass. If you’ve been scribbling your passwords on a piece of paper over the years, losing them, resetting them, or choosing passwords that can be easily hacked, it’s time to get organized.
Digital asset management, or DAM, plays a key role in estate planning, because without proper documentation, your loved ones and heirs may not be able to access things like your social media accounts, family videos and photos, cryptocurrency, domain names for websites, and many more important items you may want them to have.
Address Social Media and Email Accounts
Don’t forget about your online presence. Many individuals have multiple social media accounts and email addresses. Clearly outline your preferences for these accounts in your estate plan. (For example, Meta allows Facebook friends and family to request that an account be “memorialized.” The account is preserved with the word “remembering” next to the person’s profile.) Whether you choose to memorialize, deactivate, or transfer ownership, make sure your wishes are known to avoid any complications for your heirs.
Include Digital Assets in Your Will
Your will is a central document in estate planning, and it should encompass your digital assets. Clearly articulate your intentions regarding the distribution of digital assets, including access details and any specific requests you may have.
Regularly Update Your Plan
The digital landscape is ever-evolving, so it’s crucial to revisit and update your digital estate plan regularly. Changes in technology, account details, or your preferences may necessitate adjustments to ensure the accuracy and effectiveness of your plan.