What happens to your email address? How does someone close a deceased person’s Facebook account? The questions are endless that arise when managing a digital legacy.
A person’s digital assets are extremely personal (in some cases quite valuable). So it’s important to treat their online accounts with the same care and respect that you would their financial and physical property.
A Digital Legacy Explained
A digital legacy includes all the online accounts, digital assets, and internet profiles left behind when a person dies. Some people may only have an email address. Others maintain an extensive digital footprint over their lifetime. Recent studies indicate a single email address is associated with an average of 130 digital identities!
A digital legacy may contain the following online accounts and profiles:
- Email Addresses – includes personal and work email addresses.
- Social Media – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat, Clubhouse, etc.
- Communication Apps – Zoom, Skype, Google Hangouts, WhatsApp
- Entertainment – iTunes, Apple TV, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Roku, Pandora, SiriusXM, Cable TV, Amazon, Audible
- Financial Services – Banking, Crypto Wallets, 401K (and retirement accounts), PayPal, Venmo, Turbo Tax, Lifelock
- Online Shopping – Everywhere you have bought something online
- Storage – Google Drive, Box.Net, Dropbox, OneDrive, ShareFile
- Travel – Lyft, Uber, Airbnb, Expedia, Airline/Rental Car Apps
- Other – Health/Medical Accounts, MyChart, Dating Profiles, etc.
These are just a few examples of the more well-known digital accounts. The list is endless and new online apps, networks, and services are being launched every day.
Keep in mind that a digital legacy isn’t limited to just the accounts. It includes all the login usernames and passwords associated with these accounts. Keeping this information safe, secure, and knowing what should be done with each, is essential to managing a loved one’s digital afterlife.
How To Manage a Digital Legacy
Having a digital legacy plan is as vital as creating a will. An Estate Planning Professional can help with both. (There are state laws which govern access to a person’s digital assets.) Already have a will? Great! Be sure you include a digital executor and the location of where your digital legacy plan is. This will allow them to legally access the document after your death. Tip: Don’t include account passwords in your will. A will can become a public document following your death. Sensitive information about your digital assets should only be shared with your chosen digital executor.
Appoint a Digital Executor
Your “digital executor” is assigned to protect and organize your digital identities after you are gone. This should be a highly trusted person. They’ll be responsible for carrying out the terms set forth in your digital legacy document (i.e., your wishes).
They should be:
- Tech Savvy
- Able to handle sensitive information discreetly!
Let’s face it, we are all going to die sometime!
And whether your death is expected long enough ahead for you to get your life’s things in order; or it comes out of nowhere and your affairs are just as they are this very moment………. someone is going to have to take care of what you leave behind. This includes your digital assets!
Don’t leave them with the time-consuming task of trying to figure it all out with no roadmap! Utilizing My Life and Wishes, a secure on-line vault, is a great tool for getting this accomplished. If you have an account, make sure to grant someone access. If you don’t have an account yet, click the link below to try it for free!
We encourage everyone to make a plan today!