In today’s digital age, online accounts and digital assets make up a significant portion of an individual’s legacy. Despite the increasing prevalence of digital assets, many people overlook the importance of including these assets in their estate plans, which can lead to complications for their beneficiaries after their passing.
Digital assets can range from social media accounts and email to digital photographs, digital currencies, and subscription services – each having unique considerations and challenges when it comes to estate planning. As technology continues to advance, ensuring your digital assets are accounted for, safeguarded, and distributed according to your wishes is essential.
In this article, we will discuss the types of digital assets you may need to consider in your estate plan and offer guidance on how to manage and protect your online legacy. Additionally, we will explore the benefits of working with professional will-writing services like Sovereign Planning to ensure your estate plan is comprehensive and up to date, encompassing both physical and digital assets.
Types of Digital Assets to Include in Your Estate Plan
Understanding the various types of digital assets that may require protection in your estate plan is essential in ensuring a comprehensive approach. Some common digital assets include:
1. Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and other social media platforms often hold personal and sentimental content that you may want to preserve or manage.
2. Email Accounts: Email services often contain sensitive personal and financial information that should be addressed in your estate planning.
3. Digital Photographs and Videos: Digital memories can hold significant sentimental value and should be preserved and managed as part of your estate.
4. Digital Currencies: Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum can hold significant financial value and must be included in your estate plan to ensure proper distribution.
5. Subscription Services and Digital Licences: Online subscriptions, software licences, and digital media libraries may also be considered digital assets requiring management.
Safeguarding Your Digital Assets
Properly safeguarding and managing the access information for your digital assets is crucial in ensuring they are addressed in line with your wishes. Consider the following steps to protect your digital legacy:
1. Create a Digital Asset Inventory:Compile a list of your digital assets, including account details, login information, and any other pertinent data necessary for accessing and managing these accounts.
2. Securely Store the Inventory: Use a secure method, such as an encrypted digital storage service or a physical safe, to store your digital asset inventory. Ensure that your chosen executor or digital asset manager knows how to access this information.
3. Regularly Update Your Inventory: As your digital assets change, it is essential to consistently update your digital asset inventory to reflect your current online presence.
4. Establish a Backup System: Protect your digital assets by backing up important files and data on a secure, external storage device or using cloud-based storage services.
Authorising Someone to Manage Your Digital Assets
Incorporating your digital assets into your estate plan requires you to designate someone to manage these assets following your passing. This individual may be your chosen executor, or you may appoint a separate digital asset manager. When authorising someone to manage your digital assets, consider the following points:
1. Review Service Agreements: Each online platform and service may have its unique terms of service regarding the handling of accounts in the event of a user’s death. Familiarise yourself with these terms, and ensure your chosen digital asset manager is aware of any account-specific requirements.
2. Grant Permission in Your Will: Explicitly state your intention for your chosen representative to have the authority to access and manage your digital assets within your will.
3. Provide Clear Instructions: Provide your digital assets manager with clear instructions on your wishes for each account, including any wishes for memorialisation, deletion, or distribution of specific files or assets.
The Benefits of Professional Will-Writing Services
Working with expert will-writing services like Sovereign Planning can provide invaluable guidance and support in incorporating your digital assets into your estate plan:
1. Comprehensive Estate Planning: Our experienced team understands the importance of addressing both physical and digital assets in estate planning and can help you create a comprehensive plan that covers all aspects of your legacy.
2. Expert advice on Digital Assets: Navigating the unique challenges posed by digital assets can be complicated. Sovereign Planning offers specialised knowledge and tailored advice on incorporating digital assets into your estate plan.
3. Secure Storage of Sensitive Information: Sovereign Planning can help you explore secure storage options for your digital asset inventory and sensitive information, ensuring this data remains safe and accessible to your designated representative.
Incorporating digital assets into your estate plan is becoming increasingly important as technology continues to advance and permeate our daily lives. Protecting your online legacy requires a comprehensive approach, considering the various types of digital assets, properly safeguarding access information, and authorising someone to manage these accounts in line with your wishes. By enlisting the professional guidance of Sovereign Planning, you can create a thorough estate plan that eases the management of your digital assets and ensures your final wishes are fulfilled.
Trust Sovereign Planning to safeguard your online legacy with our professional estate planning and will-writing services. Contact us today to ensure your comprehensive estate plan encompasses all aspects of your life, both physical and digital!