Digital Assets Also Need a Plan
Have you noticed the “Legacy Contact” section of your Facebook account? Of your Instagram account? LinkedIn’s profile removal option? It is becoming increasingly important to make arrangements for managing your digital assets in the event of death or disability.
Think about all the online accounts you have. The push toward two-factor authentication. A different password for each account. Multiple email addresses. Now imagine a loved one attempting to comb through your digital presence after you’re gone. It’s likely they’ll run into security roadblock after security roadblock, with each account or website requiring them to prove the pain of your loss over and over again in order to gain access to manage them.
By taking a few minutes to set up these Legacy Contact-type options for your digital assets, your loved ones are likely to have a smoother and less painful time wrapping up your estate.
Determine a Digital Executor. Outside of utilizing the forms and settings provided by the various online accounts, you can also name a “digital executor” for your estate. This person is tasked with managing your digital assets after you’ve passed away or become incapacitated. For the most seamless transition, this person would also be your executor.
When doing your estate planning, consider drafting and signing a statement that authorizes your digital executor to access your digital accounts after you’ve passed. They will be able to use this statement to prove their right to manage your accounts. Your estate planning attorney can help you do this. Include an executed version of this document with your will and other estate documents.
Digital Vaults. Creating a digital vault is also helpful to ensure your digital assets are managed and shut down properly after you’ve passed away. This tool functions as a secure repository of digital account, site, and password information a loved one can access easily when needed.
A digital vault can be as simple as completing a worksheet to organize and compile your digital accounts and offer a clear picture of your virtual assets. If you opt to use the worksheet method, be sure to save a hard copy – preferably with your will and other estate documents – as well a soft copy on a secure drive on your computer or in a cloud service.
You might also consider storing your passwords in a secure password manager tool, such as LastPass, 1Password, or Google Password Manager. Make sure your executor or other appointed person has access to this master login and password.
Taking the initiative to use these tools and include details of your digital assets with your estate documents can help reduce the stress on your loved ones in the event of your death or incapacity.
If you need to get started on the estate planning process, contact Leitch Law for a consultation. We offer a range of estate planning services including simple wills, more complicated trust setups, powers of attorney, and advance medical directives.