Each of us has an inherent story to unfurl that roots in our thoughts, actions, and experiences. Every page of our life defines a new path explored or the footprint we leave behind on the world each day. The digital footprints left behind together define your digital legacy after death. Thus, Digital legacy planning is organizing these digital impressions or assets and securing them in one place for easy accessibility and security later.
While legacy planning is imperative, it demands effort and forethought to master them. This blog focuses on the significance of digital legacy and five things to remember while planning your digital legacy plan.
Explaining Digital Legacy
So, what is digital legacy? A person’s digital assets or data available online and generated over time, associated with the person’s identity, form their digital legacy.
Here are a few digital assets and information available online:
- Email Accounts
- Social Media Accounts(Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
- Bank and Investment Accounts
- Accounts on websites like Amazon and eBay
- Cloud Storage Accounts for storing your files
- Online Streaming Services like Netflix, Amazon Prime
- Websites and personal blogs
Digital assets and data can be anywhere on your laptop, personal computer, phone, or the internet.
Importance of Digital legacy
Creating a digital legacy plan is essential for the following reasons:
- Secure Your Digital Assets
The first and foremost reason to create a digital legacy plan is to secure digital assets and information. Cybercrime incidents like identity theft have recently increased, making online information more vulnerable. Hence, it is imperative to secure your digital property. Moreover, with the surge in cybercrime, like identity theft, online information is more vulnerable. Hence, it is imperative to secure your digital property with the help of a digital executor. A digital executor will take forward your instructions and wishes as stated in the Will and as informed to him.
- Inaccessible Digital Assets
Websites and various social media platforms do not readily reveal their user’s personal information. Further, the terms and conditions to access the information are stringent. So, your family or friends cannot access your digital information after you die. Thus, if your digital information is essential, it is lost in your accounts forever.
Hence, creating a digital plan that includes your loved ones and informs them of your wishes is imperative.
- Execute Your Wishes And Preferences
A digital legacy is a chance to document your wishes and preferences on how you want to handle your digital assets. Do you wish to close your online accounts or memorialize them? Further, you should assign a beneficiary to assets with financial benefits like bank accounts and cryptocurrency if you wish to inherit them.
Moreover, a plan helps to document your wishes to avoid any guesswork or misunderstandings later. Planning makes the entire process of distributing your digital assets easier and hassle-free.
- Protect Your Loved Ones
Above all, give your loved ones the security they need. Leaving a digital legacy for your loved ones protects their future and helps them financially.
Moreover, it is an additional layer of protection that defends them in the face of adversity. Thus, legacy planning helps you and your loved ones both.
- Peace of Mind
The future is imminent. We are emotional beings who dwell in our past and future rather than the present. Above all, digital legacy planning renders peace of mind to you more than anyone else. Including your digital legacy in digital estate ensures your digital assets are secure.
Challenges of creating a Digital Legacy Plan
Creating a digital legacy plan can be tedious, given the many online accounts and the data security involved. However, creating a plan covering the different aspects of your digital assets is essential.
Here are a few challenges endured while creating the plan:
- The first and foremost step while forging a perfect plan for your digital legacy is to enlist them. But, it is often the most difficult one as you may need to remember every online account created and its credentials.
- Your digital assets also include your photos and personal files. Moreover, creating a digital copy of them on your external hard drive is crucial. However, the process is arduous and demands time and resources (storage space).
- Another challenge endured is to update your list of accounts frequently. Given that, the passwords and other details of the account change due to the website policies and security reasons. But it is tedious to go through and update them again.
- Last, involving your loved ones in your decisions is significant and complex. Good communication is the only way to get through this challenge. Moreover, discussing and conveying your opinions helps to avoid misunderstandings later.
Things to remember while planning Digital legacy
A digital legacy is an extension of a person’s identity. Moreover, it can influence their lives to a certain extent. Hence, adopting a clear plan for securing your digital assets and information. Digital legacy planning can be arduous, given the diverse sources and the confidentiality of the data involved.
The following are things to remember for legacy planning:
Name a Digital Executor
A digital executor or a digital Will executor is someone you entrust to manage your digital assets after your death. A digital executor differs from a Will executor as the former looks over your digital property. Though people typically entrust the Will executor with the digital property, you can still find a different person specializing in the same.
A digital executor should be:
- Organized and detail-oriented
- Tech-savvy and acquainted with nuances of the internet
- Dedicated to fulfilling the wishes and preferences in your will
- Patient as digital legacy planning takes time
A digital executor does the following tasks:
- Distributing your digital assets to the people mentioned in the will
- Deleting accounts, you do not wish to pass on to your loved ones
- Managing your emails, personal files like photos, documents
- Managing utility services
- Managing passwords and other credentials
Furthermore, you can nominate your digital executor in your Last Will or testament. Enlisting your digital assets, storing them securely, and informing your executor how to access them beforehand is good.
Document instructions and final wishes
Once you have decided on your digital executor, the next step is to document your instructions and final wishes. Your digital legacy plan must entail clear instructions on handling your digital assets and information. For example, whether you want to delete your Facebook account or memorialize it after your death. Do you wish to delete your streaming service accounts or pass them on to someone?
Do you wish to close your email accounts after you die? It is also an excellent idea to analyze your emails once and find out the information that others can access through them. You have to filter your emails to be on guard for the information accessible by your executor or loved ones.
Besides, you can mention your login credentials (username and password) in a separate digital will for your beneficiaries to access them later. Moreover, the information in the servers (cloud) is secure with specialized technology like Clocr’s digital shredding technology.
Take advantage of Digital Tools.
Digital legacy planning can be tedious, considering the vast accounts we create during our lifetime and the vulnerability of data. However, with the trends in the digital world, there are numerous tools to secure digital data at our disposal. Moreover, the tools are easy to use and help to secure our digital assets with minimal effort. Furthermore, even an amateur who is not adept with technology can use them conveniently.
Besides, you can also use technology to store your lengthy passwords that are challenging to remember. We all know that websites have different guidelines for setting your password. Hence, remembering all the passwords is strenuous and confusing. However, there are different tools for password management online that make the task easier.
Research "Legacy Contact" features
Considering the importance of creating a digital legacy, a few companies have incorporated “legacy contact” features in their platforms.
Here are a few digital platforms and their settings that make the process of legacy planning easier:
- Google Inactive Account Manager
Google’s Inactive Account Manager is a complete tool. It notifies your legacy contact once your account turns inactive. Furthermore, you can also decide when to notify, whom to notify, and the final actions.
- Facebook Memorialization Settings
Facebook refers to its digital legacy feature as Memorialization settings. Though the basic features are familiar with other platforms – to choose legacy contact to manage inactive accounts, there are a few additional features also.
- Apple iCloud Digital Legacy
Earlier it was impossible to access a person’s iCloud without a password recovery key. However, Apple recently allowed us to nominate five legacy contacts who can access your account after your death.
Keep updating your inventory
Last but not least, revisit and update your list intermittently. We update the passwords from time to time. Some websites have conditions to change your password after a while. Hence, updating your inventory once you change the password is imperative.
Updating your list is often the most overlooked part of the legacy plan. But, when you don’t update your list after changing the password, your account is inaccessible to your beneficiaries. Therefore, it is imperative to update your inventory list.
Creating a digital legacy after death is an indelible footprint on the world. It is a significant way of making your presence felt even when you are not there. Furthermore, creating a legacy plan is a significant step that requires patience and effort. Documenting specific instructions and wishes in your legacy plan ensures you are honored even after death. Moreover, it is the ultimate gift to your loved ones and, most importantly, yourself.
We at Clocr ensure that creating a Digital estate plan is less challenging. Clocr’s comprehensive Digital estate planning service helps to organize and pass on your digital legacy to your loved ones. In a nutshell, a concise plan helps to enlist, organize and manage all your online accounts and personal information in one place. So, to create a legally compliant legacy plan and leave an indelible footprint – Join Clocr today!