If you spend any significant time online and you have reached the age of majority, it is time to start thinking about digital estate planning.
Everything you do online contributes to your broader digital footprint. By proactively planning for how that footprint will be managed when you are no longer in control of it, you’ll better ensure that your wishes are honored.
Facilitate your highly-personalized needs and preferences
Digital estate planning is beneficial for adults of all ages as it helps ensure control and protection of their digital assets in the event of their death or incapacitation. You almost certainly have specific ideas of how you want your digital footprint managed when you can no longer control it. Digital estate planning can help you accomplish these aims in the following ways:
- Asset management and distribution: Digital estate planning allows individuals to identify and manage their digital assets, including online accounts, cryptocurrencies, digital media, intellectual property and social media profiles. By documenting these assets and specifying their intended distribution or handling, individuals can ensure that their digital presence is handled according to their wishes after their passing or in the event of their incapacitation.
- Privacy and security: Digital estate planning involves considerations for privacy and security. By designating a trusted person as a digital executor or providing instructions on how to manage online accounts, individuals can prevent unauthorized access or misuse of their digital assets.
- Preserving memories and personal history: Digital assets often hold sentimental value, including cherished photos, videos, personal writings and social media posts. Incorporating these items into an individual’s estate plan ensures that their personal history and memories are preserved and can be shared with loved ones or future generations.
- Minimizing burdens for loved ones: In the absence of a digital estate plan, loved ones may face challenges and confusion in managing or accessing a deceased individual’s digital assets. By proactively planning for the management and transfer of digital assets, individuals can ease the burden on their loved ones and provide clear instructions on how to handle their digital presence.
Digital estate planning is not limited to older adults but is relevant for individuals of all ages who have digital assets and an online presence. By considering the control, protection, digital legacy and closure of these assets, individuals can benefit from a comprehensive estate plan that addresses both physical and digital aspects of their lives.