Does your will address your digital assets?
If you already have a will, you have done more to safeguard your interests and your legacy than the majority of American adults. If you regularly review your will and update it as necessary, your approach is head and shoulders above that of most others as well. However, if your will does not yet address your digital footprint, there is still work to be done.
Every password-protected account that you maintain, any intellectual property (including family photos) that you upload to a digital platform and all of your archived texts and emails help to form your digital footprint. If you fail to leave clear instructions regarding how you want your online and electronic presence to be addressed in the wake of your death, your loved ones – and the state – will be compelled to unravel the electronic mess you’ve left behind.
Taking thoughtful steps forward
When preparing to address your digital assets in your will and broader estate plan, take some time to think about what you do online and while you’re communicating via electronic means. By taking an inventory of the platforms you use and the accounts you access, you can develop intentional approaches to digital estate planning. For example, you’ll want to consider who you will – and will not – want to have access to any information and assets that you’re leaving behind.
You’ll also want to seek legal guidance concerning how to best ensure that your loved ones have proper access to your digital estate and how to protect your interests. Digital estate planning is a rapidly evolving area of law and, as such, working with someone who understands the ins and outs of this process will help to inform your approach.