Estate planning in the digital age- What Should You Be Considering?

This is a discussion of some considerations in designating administrators for social media and other online accounts in the event of death. We will highlight how these can be managed going forward in the digital age. As we live in a digital age, your estate plan should be updated accordingly.

The Digital Age and Digital Assets

Less than a decade ago, a majority people relied primarily on paper forms of news and business updates for financial and tax records. At the time, just a little over half of the U.S. population used the Internet. Fast-forward to 2017 and times have changed, with much of our lives organized and recorded online. According to statistics, nearly 87 percent of Americans were internet users in 2014.

Estate Planning in today’s online world must take into account digital assets and social media accounts, in addition to your medical care, property, and other more traditional, physical assets. Since most online accounts are password-protected, making arrangements in advance allows appointed administrators to access this information in the event of death.

Organizing your digital assets for Estate Planning can utilize a list or a spreadsheet that includes the following columns:

  • Domain Name;
  • Username;
  • Password;
  • PIN number (if applicable).

Keep this spreadsheet secure, and ideally in a safe-deposit box at a bank. If storing it on your computer, make sure it is password-protected and that only you and your appointed administrator(s) know of its whereabouts.

Why Secure Media Accounts?

Depending on how active you are online and what you would like to continue after death, including social media access is an important part of your Estate Plan. If you have a website and want it to continue generating revenue or content, specific instructions need to be left for the person you appoint.

Social media networks such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, as well as blogs and e-mail accounts, may include certain photos and other media memories valuable to your family. These may be inaccessible without your written documentation directing who should be given the login information for these accounts. Securing your online presence also allows your accounts to be closed, if necessary, to preserve your privacy and to protect your family from identity theft after you are gone.

The Value of Your Digital Footprint

Estate Planning is a process that involves documenting and securing information both online and offline. Life changes occur every day and you want to make sure you and your loved ones are protected. Planning for the future step-by-step helps put things in order to make it easier for your loved ones down the road while securing peace of mind for you.

For a more in-depth look at Estate Planning for your Digital Assets please see our article on “How to Plan for your Digital Assets”.

ODGERS LAW GROUP is an Estate Planning law firm and can help you through the process from start to finish. Together, we can create a master plan that is tailored to your needs while ensuring your digital footprint is managed and protected. The task of setting up an Estate Plan does not have to be a daunting one. To learn more about Estate Planning or to schedule your free consultation with Mr. Odgers, contact us by e-mail, call us at (858) 869-1114, or schedule your appointment online here.

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