Over the past decade or so, estate planning has expanded beyond physical assets and financial accounts to include digital assets, leading to the emergence of digital estate planning. This relatively new aspect of estate planning involves managing and arranging for the disposition of digital assets upon one’s death or incapacitation.
If you have yet to draft an estate plan, you’ll need to include digital estate planning provisions when you do. If you already have an estate plan in place but you have yet to address your digital assets, it’s time to update your plan accordingly.
Why make this effort?
By crafting a digital estate plan, you’ll better ensure that your digital footprint is handled according to your wishes if you’re incapacitated and when you pass away. Digital assets include a broad range of elements such as online accounts (for example, social media, email and banking), digital files (like photos, videos and documents), domain names and even cryptocurrencies.
Just like physical assets, digital assets can have significant financial and sentimental value. Digital estate planning helps ensure that these assets are identified, valued and protected as part of your overall estate.
Additionally, providing clear instructions and organized information about your digital assets can significantly ease the burden on executors and beneficiaries. It simplifies the process of accessing, managing and distributing these assets in accordance with your wishes.
By including digital assets in your estate plan, you can protect your digital legacy, better ensure the privacy and security of your online accounts, and provide clear guidance to your loved ones, which are all efforts worth making while you still can.