Do you have a plan of what will happen to your digital assets after you die? Traditionally, an individual’s estate plan (no matter how large or small) includes our wishes, and lists our physical items such as financial accounts and property. As a majority of individuals are now fully immersed into the digital age we need to consider what will happen to these digital assets and online accounts. Even if an individual is single or married with multiple grandchildren I’ll give some pointers on what you can do to preserve your digital legacy.
Background Information: I have been doing some extensive research and have secretly had a passion for this topic for the last couple of years. You may ask, why am I writing about this subject?
Don’t I scan or restore photos, or digitize videos? Yes, I do!! And it’s very important as it serves as a backup and a way to share those precious memories with others. However, what would happen to those digital memories when you die? You’ve saved on your computer and shared on social media. Will someone be able to access your digital assets?
What do I mean by Digital Legacy?
This includes our wishes for what we want done with our social media accounts, digital photos, videos and information to gain access to our online accounts such as email, banking, credit cards, utilities, social media accounts, etc. Since we don’t “own” Facebook, Amazon, and other companies for which we have accounts with, these are traditionally not included in trusts or wills. However, we can and should document our digital assets and what we want done with them.
Create a Plan
- Take an inventory
- Decide what you want done with your digital assets
- Name a digital executor
- Include the legalities, if possible
- Store your digital legacy plan & make it securely accessible
- Maintain your digital legacy
- Bonus: Create a legacy “drawer”
1. Take an Inventory
So, how do we get started? Like traditional estate plans, you need to take inventory of what you have. This includes where your digitized documents, photos & videos are located. Do you have a list of all of your online accounts passwords? As a former IT Security professional I highly recommend saving your password and account information in a secure password application. Check back for information in the near future on securing your passwords.
Types of Digital Accounts
Below are some examples of the different types of digital assets. I’ll discuss in a separate article password security.
- Passwords ( a list of all your passwords)
- Computer & digital devices
- Email accounts
- Banking accounts
- Utility bills
- Social media accounts
- Shopping accounts
- Photo & video sharing accounts
Stay tuned for more information!