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The Heritage Law Center, LLC Blog

Estate Planning in the Digital Age

POSTED ON: July 13, 2017

When we think about estate planning, we usually think of how we manage tangible items and investments, but have you thought about protecting your digital assets?  As our lives become more and more dependent on technology, it’s important to consider your digital assets when preparing an estate plan.

What qualifies as digital property?

  • Digital devices such as computers, flash drives, digital cameras and smartphones
  • Any information stored electronically (i.e. clouds and file storing services)
  • Domain names
  • Memberships on social media accounts and other websites
  • Email
  • Online accounts for bill pay, banking and investments
  • Online currency (bitcoin etc)

How can I protect my digital assets?

  • Name a Digital Executor of your estate.  This person will be given all your account information to manage.  While each website has it’s own requirements, the Digital Executor should know how you want each website handled after your death.
  • Make a list of where all your digital assets are located and their passwords.  Setting up an account with a digital password manager is a great way to keep all of this information in one place.  
  • Consider your wishes for each site differently:  In this day in age, there is such a huge variety of personal information online that isn’t necessary to put everything in the hands of a single person.  For instance, perhaps someone in your family would be better suited to deal with social media accounts, while another family member is more suited for online businesses and investment accounts.  Designate as many Digital Executors as you need.
  • Your email account contains some of your most important information, including banking, bill pay and online account information. Making sure your email is accessible in the event of your death is one of the most important things you can do to protect your digital assets.

While it may be tempting to leave all this information in a safe place, it is important to make sure your wishes for your digital assets are legally binding.  Without legal backing, it may be difficult for your Digital Executor to properly follow through with your wishes. Are you ready to start planning for your digital estate?  Contact us for a free consultation and start protecting your assets today!