You don’t only leave behind material assets when you die. You leave an entire digital footprint as well. Raisning the question as to what happens to my digital assets when I die?
If left unchecked, it could result in devastating consequences.
Traditionally, locating asset details is easy.
A deceased estate usually consists of various monetary assets such as bank accounts, immovable property, vehicles, insurance policies, etc. Ideally, all the essential details of these assets would be in a file kept in a safe place. The executor or family member can quickly locate it and wind up the estate.
Nowadays, digital assets abound with monetary and sentimental value.
Times have changed, and most people choose to store important information in a digital format. Digital assets include email accounts, social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn), blog posts, photo and music sharing accounts, and even online purchases.
This poses a difficulty for the executor in winding up the estate. In the worst-case scenario, the assets may hold a monetary value and may never be located and therefore lost forever. Although digital photo albums may not translate into monetary value, the sentimental value is significant. Losing such could be devastating.
Your Digital Estate Plan
You can prevent this from happening by creating a Digital Estate Plan and ensuring accessibility to accounts upon your death to close them.
Draft a legal document, such as a Last Will and Testament or a Letter of Wishes. This document will ensure that your intentions in this regard are carried out.
Questions to consider for your digital assets
Essential questions to ask yourself when planning your Digital Estate Plan include the following:
- Who is to manage and have control over your digital estate? (Make sure that this ‘digital executor’ is technologically savvy and has the right skills in this regard.)
- How are they accessing passwords after death?
- What is to happen to the digital estate? (For instance, are digital accounts to be closed and digital devices cleared of their contents? Should printouts of accounts be given to particular people?)
- Who is to receive the digital estate, and in what form?
To prevent your digital information from disappearing forever, it is important to be proactive and ensure that it devolves according to your digital estate plan.
It is advisable to get assistance from an experienced attorney to assist you in taking care of your digital and physical assets. Our team can help you with drawing up your Last Will and Testament and a Letter of Wishes.
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