It is no secret that today’s world is increasingly digital. More and more people are relying on digital devices to manage their lives, including everything from personal finances to communications. Unfortunately, this also means that people are increasingly leaving behind important digital assets when they pass away or become disabled. For example, many people store their bank account information on their computers or mobile devices. This data could prove to be extremely valuable to their heirs if properly managed. If these digital assets are not properly accounted for, they could quickly be lost, leaving your loved ones in a challenging situation. Fortunately, ensuring that your digital assets are properly accounted for when you pass away is a simple process.
To do so, you will need to create a plan for how your loved ones will manage your digital assets (such as email accounts, social media accounts, etc.) after you have passed away. This will include naming an executor, power of attorney or trustee who will oversee the management and disbursement of your digital assets as well as providing written authorization to the relevant parties to access those accounts. It is important to include your digital assets in your estate plan so that your family can receive the assets to which they are entitled, as well as information that is sentimental to them, such as digital photographs and videos.
Thankfully, technology also enables this area of estate planning to be significantly simplified through the use of digital tools such as password managers. Password managers enable users to securely store and manage their passwords and usernames, ensuring that they are easy to recover when the time comes to use them. These applications typically allow you to generate unique, strong passwords for each account and store them in a central database that is accessed via a password-protected website. This means that all of your passwords are encrypted so that they cannot be accessed by unauthorized users, making them safe to store - and ensuring that you don't use the same password for every website. It also means that you don't have to remember dozens of different passwords or carry a printed list of them with you, which can make securing and managing these accounts much easier.
To get started on creating a plan that includes your digital assets, you should first make a list of all of the websites, social media accounts, and other online services that you access on a regular basis. Ensure that all of these accounts are included in your password management software. You'll then include the necessary information and password to your management software to your executor, power of attorney or trustee, who will then quickly and easily be able to access all of the necessary accounts to carry out your wishes. This process can help expedite the process of managing your estate and allow family members to recover invaluable digital assets that would otherwise be lost forever.
If you're in need of assistance with your digital asset planning, or any other aspect of estate planning, contact View Ridge Family Law & Estate Planning today to schedule a consultation.