If you already have a Digital Estate Plan in place, you are on the right track. If you do not have one, it is time to create one.
However, if you have a Digital Estate Plan or an Estate Plan, you know you will have to review and revise it once in two to three years or after a major life change.
If you have experienced any of the following things, you need to update your Digital Estate Plan right away.
A Walk down the Aisle
Whether you are newly married or starting your second innings, this is no doubt a major life change. We understand your responsibilities change and you might be busy settling down with your spouse. Updating your Digital Estate Plan might take the back burner. But this is also the perfect time to revise your Legacy Contacts, Trusted Contacts and Digital Executor list.
A break in a relationship – either legal separation or divorce calls for an update in your Digital Estate Plan. For example: you might want to remove your ex-spouse as your social media Legacy Contact or change your Digital Executor.
Death in the family
Loss of a loved one can be a devastating feeling. From sudden deaths after contracting Covid19 to sudden deaths from post-Covid complications, we have seen a lot of ‘life is uncertain’’ moments in the past two years.
We prepare a Digital Estate Plan to make sure our family can access and manage our Digital Assets after our demise. But what if our Legacy Contact on Facebook or our Digital Executor passes away before us? This certainly calls for an update in our Digital Estate Plan.
Illness or Incapacitation
We never know what the future beholds. We create Estate Plans and Digital Estate Plans to prepare for uncertainty. It is never pleasant to think of our death or illness. But what if we are diagnosed with a chronic illness? What if the treatment deviates us from managing our Digital Assets?
This is where Digital Estate Planning for future caregivers (your caregivers) comes into picture. Once you create a list of your Digital Assets along with their usernames and passwords (or any other means to access them), you need to leave instructions as to what should happen to them in case of death or illness. Next comes appointing a Digital Executor – choose someone who is tech-savvy and knows to work their way through your Digital Assets.
New Laws and Landscapes
The need for creating a separate plan for Digital Assets has given birth to Digital Estate Planning laws. Various states in the US follow RUFADAA (Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act). RUFADAA governs access to a person’s online accounts when the account owner dies or loses the ability to manage the accounts.
To check if RUFADAA is valid in your state, have a look at the Uniform Law Commission website here.
If you are a Canadian, you might want to have a look at UADAFA – the law that governs Digital Assets in Canada. In other countries, Digital Estate Planning is still gaining traction and it might take some time before a concrete decision is taken when it comes to accessing a deceased or incapacitated family member’s Digital Assets.
It is always recommended to update your Digital Estate Plan within a few days of a major life change. Do not postpone; it hardly takes minutes to update your Digital Executor or Legacy Contact.