Creating a Digital Estate Plan on your own is easy once you understand what Digital Assets are.
Digital Assets are the digitized entities you own online. Anything you own that is on the internet is your Digital Asset. This could be a website, copyrights, or even photos and videos in your cloud.
Although the legal area for Digital Assets is still underdeveloped and there is some confusion about their ownership, the growing awareness in this field means users are going to get more power over what they “own” digitally, like social media accounts and domain names.
Knowing about Digital Assets equips you to track and manage your digital footprint better. Learning more about your Digital Assets can help your loved ones access and protect them better after your death. You can do this easily by creating a Digital Estate Plan.
Before you begin your Digital Estate Plan, make a list of all the accounts you own. These might include:
Some social media companies have legacy policies to manage accounts of deceased users. While social media accounts like Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn allow memorialization of deceased user’s accounts, subscription and shopping sites like Amazon allow deletion of deceased user’s accounts on intimation.
So, you need to clearly mention what you would like to do with your social media accounts in your Digital Estate Plan.
Eventually, after your death, your email records might be erased due to inactivity. However, the decision about your account relies on the digital service provider’s policy. However, you can instruct your executor to send, erase, print, or document messages before the account expires.
For instance, there might be an email you wanted your loved one to read.
Blogs and Licensed Domain Names
You might want your executor to delete the blog, or to file its contents. They also might have to move, end, or continue paying for your permit. Adding more information on how to access and what to do with these Digital Assets can help your executor manage them better.
You might be an active member in an online book club or other community groups and want to inform your group of your demise. You can do this by leaving a message in your Digital Estate Plan or by leaving some instructions for your executor.
Photographs, Music, and Other Files
If you forget to include details of your cloud storage account in your Will, your loved ones will not be able to access your documents and they will be lost forever, or worse—hacked.
To make sure your documents are with your near and dear after your death, leave instructions on how to access them and who is the next rightful owner with your executor.
If you need to ensure that the documents get to your friends and family, leave guidelines for how to get to these records with your executor, and whom to give the files to.
If you sell products on sites like Amazon, eBay, or Etsy, let your executor know how to handle your online store after your death. Without any instructions, they will have no legal way to choose what happens to your online store or encash your profits.
Budgetary Accounts and Utilities
Utilize your Digital Estate Plan to leave copies of your financial records with your friends and family. During probate, your executor will require access to these records to wrap up your estate and take care of any pending payments.
Leave instructions on accessing your online records like investment accounts, retirement accounts, life insurance, gas and electric accounts, telephone, or link bills.
Now that you know the answer to what are digital assets, set your Digital Estate Planning process in motion by creating a draft of all your Digital Assets and get a clear idea on what you want to do with them after your death. Once you’re done, learn how you can create your Digital Estate Plan.