The term Baby Boomers is used for people born from 1946 to 1964 indicating the explosive rise in birth rates around the globe after the end of World War 2. Aging from 57-75 years, Baby Boomers have either retired, preparing for retirement, or taking care of their children or parents which is the reason why they are also called the Sandwich Generation.
Accounting for 21.45% of the U.S. population, Baby Boomers hold 40% of the market share with an annual expenditure of more than $548.1 billion forcing companies like Geico, Toyota, and John Lewis to adopt different marketing strategies to attract them. Contrary to their reputation of being old and ignorant towards technology, Baby Boomers are quite active in the digital world.
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.
People from the Sandwich Generation have invested in Digital Assets of financial and personal value. These assets should be protected and should be easily accessible to the family members after the death or incapacitation of the owner. If you belong to this generation then you need to add a Digital Estate Plan to your retirement planning.
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What Is A Digital Estate Plan And Why Should I Care?
A Digital Estate Plan ensures the security of your Digital Assets and your virtual identity(from identity theft) along with benefits like:
- Smooth and fast handover of your online accounts to your beneficiaries after you pass away or become disabled.
- Privilege to choose your Digital Executor(especially for monetary accounts).
- Choice of operating, deleting, or memorializing online accounts.
Ceasing chances of family dispute over the assets.
- All your online accounts will have a mark of their presence and none will be left out while being shared with family members.
Digital Assets have a similar importance as your physical assets and not planning for them can cause the same financial and mental distress your family may go through without the presence of an Estate Plan after your death.
How To Start With A Digital Estate Plan
Creating a Digital Estate Plan is a four-step process. Let’s have a look at these steps.
1. Begin With A Digital Asset Inventory
List all your Digital Assets or online accounts, these can be:
- Subscription accounts like Netflix, Spotify, or Discovery+.
- Cloud storage drives
- Email accounts
- Online gaming accounts
- Online shopping accounts
- Domain names, websites, online stores
- Online banking and payment services
- Social media accounts
- Electronic devices used to access the accounts stated above like smartphones, computers, laptops, tablets, or ebook readers.
2. Decide The Future Of Your Assets
Depending on the kind of asset(monetary or non-monetary), you have to decide the way it would be handled after your death or incapacitation. Following are the options that can come in handy while making these decisions:
- Social media sites like Facebook or Instagram provide a Legacy Contact option. This Legacy Contact can be anyone from your social group or family who will handle your accounts as per your instructions which can include closing or memorializing the account. It’s always good to check company policies regarding Custodial Tools for every platform you use and make an informed decision.
- For accounts that generate income, you can appoint someone reliable and share with them the accounts’ details and instruct them about the ways of running the accounts. But this option does not settle with everyone because many people do not want to share account details while they are able to handle it. For assets like your Cryptocurrencies, it’s important to leave behind traces of the presence of the account otherwise all the funds will be lost forever. A simple way to do this is to write account details on paper and store it in a bank locker or anywhere safe where your family can access them after you pass away. The same method can be applied to other monetary accounts like your YouTube channel, Gaming account, or Online Shopping Store.
- Creating a Digital Will and appointing a Digital Executor is another option that you can work upon steadily and carve out all your wishes for your Digital Assets on paper.
3. Choose A Digital Executor
A Digital Executor is responsible for handling your Digital Assets after you pass away or become disabled. Choosing a reliable person to access your Digital Assets that have financial and personal value to you and your beneficiaries is an important decision.
You can choose two Digital Executors to avert the situation following the death or incapacitation of any one of them before you pass away or in case you want different executors to manage distinct types of accounts(you may want a family member to access your monetary accounts but a friend to access your personal social media accounts).
You can get a better idea about the role of a Digital Executor by discussing RUFADAA’s guidelines applicable in your state with a legal professional.
4. Legalize And Store Your Plan
You can legalize your Digital Estate Plan by adding it to your Will but make sure not to reveal passwords, PIN’s or other private details of your accounts in the Will because it later becomes a public record. You can also choose to create a Trust to ensure privacy, especially for your financial Digital Assets.
You can store your Digital Estate Plan with an attorney, in a locker or cabinet, or in a Cloud Locker like Clocr. Storing your Digital Estate Plan online is the best way to safeguard it and ensure that details of all your Digital Assets will be shared securely with your beneficiaries after you’re no more.