What is Digital Estate Planning?

What is Digital Estate Planning

Have you thought about what happens to your Digital Properties after death?

The advance of technology is based on making it fit in so that you don’t really notice it, so it’s a part of everyday life.

We are not new to the concept of Estate Planning. But have you heard the term Digital Estate Planning? What does it mean? 

Digital Estate Planning is similar to Traditional Estate Planning albeit one difference. While Traditional Estate Planning is more about physical or tangible assets, Digital Estate Planning puts the spotlight on digital or intangible assets.

Introduction to Digital Estate Planning

Do you listen to podcasts or audiobooks while commuting to work? Do you prefer eBooks over paperbacks? Smartphones, personal computers, laptops, eBook readers, cloud storage drives, payment and subscription accounts, social media, and other online accounts form a part of your Digital Life. You might probably use some, if not all, of these at least once a day. Have you thought about what happens to your Digital Properties after death?

Who would manage your payment, subscription, or social media accounts after your death? How about photos and videos of your countless vacations, family gatherings, and parties with friends? Who gets to retrieve them from your cloud storage after your passing?

Like how you create an Estate Plan to offer smooth transfer of your ‘estates’ to your next-of-kin, you can also create a Digital Estate Plan exclusive for your Digital Assets and make sure your beneficiaries handle them as you want them to, after your demise.

What is Digital Estate?

A Digital Estate refers to electronic information assets that exist on the internet and devices. In other words, a Digital Estate comprises your online accounts and the electronic devices used to access these online accounts.

Digital Estate Assets (also known as Digital Assets or Digital Property) include:

  • Digital music
  • Social media accounts
  • Online banking and third-party payment accounts
  • Cloud storage services
  • Gaming profiles
  • Online files and eBooks
  • Cryptocurrency

Electronic devices used to access these Digital Assets include:

  • Smartphones and tablets
  • Personal computers
  • Laptops
  • eBook readers

What is Digital Estate Planning?

Digital Estate Planning is the process of organizing your Digital Assets (social media, online subscriptions, payment and other online accounts) and making arrangements for what should happen to them after your death.

Technology has vastly advanced in the past decade. With the availability of the internet to almost everyone on the planet, we have seen a spurt in social media and other online account users. This growth is further fueled by the availability of affordable smartphones.

Digital Property is as important as any tangible or physical property. Have you wondered what happens to subscription or payment accounts of the deceased? How about social media accounts of the dead? Managing these Digital Assets has become a necessity as online accounts of the dead fall prey to hackers and frauds.

Traditional Estate Planning vs Digital Estate Planning

Traditional Estate Planning Digital Estate Planning
  • Includes a list of tangible and intangible assets i.e. physical, financial and online assets
  • Involves filing multiple legal documents such as Last Will and Testament, Letter of Intent, Power of Attorney and Beneficiary Designations
  • Helps in managing tangible as well as intangible assets
  • Assets listed in Estate Plans usually have a financial value
  • US Specific: Estate Planning  governed by Estate Laws
  • Is exclusive to Digital Assets such as cloud storage, social media accounts, subscription sites, etc.
  • Involves listing all Digital Assets, leaving instructions for each of them, assigning a Digital Executor and getting the Digital Estate Plan signed by an attorney
  • Helps in managing intangible assets
  • Assets listed in Digital Estate Plan have sentimental value
  • US/Canada Specific: Digital Estate Planning is governed by RUFADAA (US) and UADAFA (Canada)

Are you ready to start planning for your Digital Estate? Sign-up with Clocr and get all the help you need in learning as well as creating your first Digital Estate Plan.