Making an Estate Plan is something most of us have to think about at some point in our lives. It’s a way to pass on your assets according to your wishes. But an Estate Plan only covers your assets. In the 21st century, almost everyone has a digital life. This is proven by the presence of their Digital Assets. But then what happens to your Digital Assets once you pass away? That is where a Digital Estate Plan comes in.
What Is Digital Estate Planning?
The easiest way to explain Digital Estate Planning is to think of it as an Estate Plan, but for your Digital Assets.
All your online accounts and the devices you use to access your online accounts are collectively called Digital Assets or Digital Properties. Like how Estate Planning helps your loved ones in protecting and managing your tangible assets, a Digital Estate Plan helps your loved ones in protecting your Digital Assets.
Since Digital Assets are relatively new to our lives, people more than often overlook them when creating an Estate Plan. This is because we equate Estate Plans to substantial assets such as money and property. But, Digital Assets are vital too. So, let’s take a look at how you can prepare a Digital Estate Plan.
Things To Note When Creating A Digital Estate Plan For Influencers
Most influencers are active across a variety of social media platforms. This is in addition to their primary content creation platform. So make sure to go through all of your accounts and devices when taking inventory.
For influencers, their content is often a part of their life’s work. So they might wish to preserve their legacy, or because the revenue from their content could be beneficial to their loved ones. By including such a clause in your Digital Estate Plan, you can preserve your Digital Assets following your death, provided that the service you use also allows it.
It is common sense to choose someone you trust as your executor. This is even more important in the case of influencers since some of their accounts are of interest to the public. As such, you should choose someone who wouldn’t try to take advantage of that publicity as your executor.
Things To Note When Creating A Digital Estate Plan For Baby Boomers
Even though Baby Boomers are relatively less active on the internet when compared to the younger generations, they still have a significant Digital Footprint. Most baby boomers are active on at least 2 social media platforms. Not only that, around 92% of the Baby Boomers shop online, collectively making 20% more online purchases than the millennials(born from 1977-1995) and 57% of them are on Facebook followed by other digital platforms. Online blogs and articles are the favorite way for 60% of Baby Boomers to gain knowledge on multiple topics.
Make sure you go through the bookmarks, browsing history, and check all the apps that are downloaded on the computer or smartphones.
For Boomers, their Digital Assets could range from non-monetary Digital Assets such as pictures and videos to monetary ones like PayPal accounts. And not everyone would like to pass on all of their Digital Assets to their loved ones following their death. So it’s pivotal that you include the necessary ones in your Digital Estate Plan to decide what happens to your Accounts and their contents when you pass away.
Make sure your executor is someone who is tech-savvy and has knowledge about different digital platforms. The role of a Digital Executor comes with great responsibilities. So make sure it’s someone you trust as well.
Things To Note When Creating A Digital Estate Plan For Millenials
Most millennials have a diverse range of online accounts and it’s difficult to remember all of them at all times. So, it’s best to go through the bookmarks, browsing history, and check all the apps that are downloaded on the computer or smartphones.
If you do not want your family members to handle your social media accounts, you can appoint your close friend as a Digital Executor – exclusively for your Social Media sites. To do so, you only have to include this wish in your Digital Estate Plan, and the passwords for your socials will be disclosed only to your friends.
Things To Note When Creating A Digital Estate Plan For Senior Citizens
If you are a senior citizen, you might already have an Estate Plan in place. While senior citizens would generally be the ones with the lowest Digital Footprint, they too will have Digital Assets that they would wish to pass on through a Digital Estate Plan.
If you decide to cancel or close accounts, make sure you designate someone to consolidate your photos into other storage devices before your account gets deleted. No matter what you decide, make sure your family members have all the necessary information to access your accounts.
Clocr’s Time Capsule is an easy solution to store and share your Digital Legacy with your family. Moreover, you can even pass on personalized messages to your loved ones. You can use it to store and share photos, videos, favorite recipes to be passed down to the next generation, and even recorded audio/video messages for your special someone.
How To Prepare A Digital Estate Plan
1) Make an Inventory of your Digital Assets
Creating a list is the first thing you should do when you start most things. And the same holds true for DIgital Estate Planning. Start off by making a list of all the online accounts you have owned so far. This includes social media sites, cloud storage, cryptocurrency, emails, files and documents, and online banking.
Next, make a list of all the devices you have used to access the above-mentioned accounts. If you have invested in cryptocurrency, you will have to list the device used to purchase your crypto. Cryptocurrencies work on the principle of Public and Private keys. Private keys are user-specific, hence the need to include the device used to purchase the cryptocurrency in your Digital Estate Plan.
2) Give Access to your Digital Assets
You might be thinking – isn’t this simple? Just make a list of passwords and include it in the Will?
It is not legal to include passwords and other sensitive information in your Will. Wills are made public after the death of an individual. This means that anyone could gain access to your account, and that is not an ideal scenario.
Make use of a Password Manager to store the usernames and passwords of your online accounts. A Password Manager needs one Master Password to allow access to your account. Find a way to pass on the Master Password to your beneficiary.
3) Appoint a Digital Executor
A Digital Executor is the person who makes sure your wishes are carried out after your demise. Moreover, they ensure your privacy is protected. You can choose a specific individual as a Digital Executor for certain online accounts.
Some Digital Assets require specific legal permissions to access. Make sure to have a look at each organization’s Legacy Policies. If you are not sure about certain online accounts (online banking and such), talk to your trusted attorney and discuss ways in which you can transfer these accounts to your beneficiaries legally.
For example, if you do not want your family members to handle your social media accounts, you can appoint your close friend as a Digital Executor – exclusively for your Social Media sites.
Make sure they are tech-savvy and have knowledge about different digital platforms. The role of a Digital Executor comes with great responsibilities. So make sure you choose someone you trust.
4) Make your Digital Estate Plan legal
For any documents to be passed on as a part of an Estate, it needs to be authorized by an attorney. Similarly, your Digital Estate Plan is legally valid only when it is authorized by an attorney. Talk to your trusted attorney about your Digital Estate Plan.
If you still have doubts about Digital Estate Planning, you might want to have a look at the advantages of creating a Digital Estate Plan and the importance of Digital Estate Planning.
5) Store your legalized Digital Estate Plan in a secure and accessible place
When it comes to storing important documents digitally, we recommend Clocr’s Digital Vault. Our patent-pending security shreds the document digitally and stores it at multiple locations. This ensures utmost security and your documents are safe from hackers and fraudsters.
You list your usernames and passwords in your Digital Assets inventory. These are important details and cannot be stored in an unsafe location. Apart from using a digital vault, we recommend you leave a hard copy of your document with your lawyer and keep another copy of the same locked in your cabinet or safe.