As our lives become increasingly intertwined with the digital world, digital assets and social media accounts play a significant role in our personal and financial lives. Despite their importance, many people overlook these assets when creating an estate plan. Ensuring that your digital legacy is preserved and managed according to your wishes requires proactive planning and communication. This article highlights the importance of including digital assets and social media accounts in your estate plan and provides guidance on how to do so effectively.
Digital assets encompass a wide range of online and electronic items, including social media profiles, email accounts, digital photos and videos, blogs, domain names, cryptocurrency, and intellectual property. These assets may hold sentimental, financial, or practical value, and their management can impact your online identity and privacy, as well as your family’s well-being.
One of the first steps in incorporating digital assets into your estate plan is to create a comprehensive inventory of your digital presence. This inventory should include a list of your digital assets, associated usernames and passwords, security questions and answers, and any other relevant information needed to access and manage these accounts. Keep this inventory updated and stored securely, preferably in an encrypted format or with a trusted digital estate planning service.
Next, designate a trusted individual, known as a digital executor or fiduciary, to manage your digital assets upon your passing or incapacity. This person will be responsible for tasks such as accessing and closing accounts, transferring digital assets to beneficiaries, preserving important files, and managing your online presence. Ensure that your digital executor is comfortable with technology and understands your values and preferences regarding your digital legacy.
In addition to designating a digital executor, it is essential to provide them with the legal authority to act on your behalf. Many jurisdictions have enacted legislation, such as the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA), that governs how fiduciaries can access and manage digital assets. Consult with an estate planning attorney to create the necessary legal documents,, such as a will, trust, or power of attorney, that grant your digital executor the authority to manage your digital assets in accordance with these laws.
Finally, communicate your wishes and instructions for your digital assets and social media accounts to your digital executor and loved ones. This may include specifying which accounts should be closed or memorialized, who should receive access to specific assets, and how your digital content should be preserved or distributed. Providing clear guidance can help prevent disputes and ensure that your digital legacy aligns with your intentions.
This topic is more relevant today than ever before. Contact our law firm at 817-899-3286 to learn more about digital asset planning.