What Is My Digital Estate and What Can I Do With It?
So, you’ve drafted your will, created your trust, specified funeral arrangements, and named an executor and successor trustee of your estate. You’ve checked all the boxes, and you’re all set, right? Chances are, you’ve overlooked a substantial part of your estate plan—your digital assets.
In this day and age, your digital assets need be a part of your estate planning consideration, Creating a digital estate plan is something most people overlook today and most people don’t even know that their online accounts are considered digital assets. In fact, a Rocket Lawyer poll showed 63% of people don’t know what happens to their digital assets when they die. Including your digital assets, financial and social, in your estate plan can provide security in how you want them handled after your death.
You should make a list of your digital assets and provide the login information for a designated digital executor to access the accounts upon your death. These accounts may include your Facebook, Twitter, or email, but also your digital wallet, if you use one, and your online-accessible retirement and bank accounts. Without this digital executor and login information it is next to impossible for your loved ones to access these accounts after you pass.
Not everything is a digital asset and needs to be treated as such. Referencing in your written Will, your bank and brokerage accounts for which you also have online access will be sufficient, and you probably don’t need to mention them again in a digital estate plan. However, it is still critical that your executor know how to obtain access to the online accounts to make the process as seamless as possible. Finally, make sure to keep the list of your digital assets in a secure location, such as using a LastPass account.
After taking inventory, the final step is to name a digital executor. This person will be responsible for carrying out your digital estate plan. So, your digital executor, if different from your estate executor, needs to be named in your Will as well.