Not so long ago, estate planning was primarily an exercise in determining who would receive a testator’s assets upon their death and how their medical preferences would be addressed in the event of incapacity. Yet, today, one’s digital presence demands estate-related attention as well.
Digital estate planning is an essential process that better ensures the proper management and disposition of digital assets upon death or incapacitation. From online bank accounts and social media profiles to digital photo libraries and email accounts, these aspects of one’s digital footprint are often overlooked in traditional estate planning. This is why paying unique attention to these assets via a distinct process can be truly helpful to adults of all ages.
The functions of digital estate planning
Digital assets can have significant sentimental and monetary value. Think of your family photos stored online or the domain name for a personal blog that may hold emotional weight for loved ones. For entrepreneurs, digital assets might include online businesses or valuable digital products. A digital estate plan helps safeguard these assets and helps to ensure that they’re not lost in cyberspace upon your passing.
Additionally, without a digital estate plan, loved ones may struggle to manage or close your online accounts. A clear plan can provide guidance on whether you wish for social media profiles to be memorialized, storage accounts to be deleted or financial accounts to be handled in a specific way, better preserving your legacy and privacy.
In the absence of clear instructions, managing your digital legacy can become a complex and distressing task for family members. A digital estate plan eases the burden on loved ones by providing clear directions on accessing and handling digital assets, sparing them the additional stress in the wake of your incapacitation or death.