With so much happening online today, it only makes sense that managing your digital estate should be included while estate planning. The bad part is that we do not have any idea of what transpires about the assets we have digitally once we cease to exist.
This is why we need to be planning for the day our estate needs to be managed so that any losses sustained that were sentimental or financial can be prevented. Plus, you should still prepare even if there are no current policies or laws covering assets that are digital in nature.
Below are ways to manage your digital estate planning:
Have Digital Assets Inventoried
You should be inventorying all digital assets by listing them out so that your loved ones can keep your memory and estate protected. You need to be as thorough as possible and have many assets listed. A few examples of digital assets include the following:
- Online accounts for credit cards and bank accounts
- Email account
- Social media
You need to realize that the funds are real in the accounts although they are in a digital holding.
Issues with Accessibility
A challenging factor may come up surrounding the accessibility for beneficiaries if there are digital assets involved. These challenges normally involve the use of passwords. There may also be laws in place covering privacy and any access that is considered unauthorized. It is important to know whether the laws in your state have defined digital asset requirements that help accessibility to be easy. If not, then you need to take steps to ensure that preparation is done.
Developing the Digital Estate Plan
The following steps should be taken while developing the plan for your digital assets. Have Your Email Account Ready. With many individuals going paperless for credit card bills and bank statements, this will be nice to do. It will allow any bills to be accessed so that payments can continue. Sentimental value may also be involved when the estate is settled. Under estate laws, an executor needs to have full access to an email account.
Have Logins Inventoried. Write down all of your usernames and password credentials. This way, the executor is able to gain access. Be sure not to have this information in any will. The reason is that the will becomes public knowledge. Make separate notes so that the estate manager is able to access them.
Have Wishes Outlined. Make sure to list your wishes concerning the online accounts and assets. Do you want to keep your social media active? Do you want the digital accounts to transfer any money to a bank account?
List Different Executors. You can have an executor listed that takes care of all of your digital assets. Make sure it is ok with your main executor and if they want to handle the digital assets too, then let them.
Although not many may have heard about digital estate planning, the concept is catching on rather quickly. This is why you should contact our office today so that we can go over your options and what works the best for digital assets.