Digital Estate Planning in the Digital Age

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Digital Estate Planning

In this digital age, numerous assets intertwine with our lives, from email accounts, social media profiles, cloud storage, photos, and videos to blogs, websites, cryptocurrency, and more. Thus, memories, investments, and personal value converge seamlessly.

Your digital assets are invaluable, holding sentimental, financial, or personal value. But your loved ones can lose all these after an unfortunate death or incapacity incident.

Challenges of Digital Estate Planning

Gaining access to digital accounts and assets post-owner’s passing poses a significant challenge. All digital assets adhere to strict user privacy and data security policies. Social media pages like Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp, and X (formerly known as Twitter) prevent anyone but the owner from accessing another person’s account. Most of these accounts have a two-factor authentification process, requiring the owner’s phone number and email address to permit access.

Digital investment platforms impose even more stringent verification measures. Lack of physical papers or paper trails complicates the ownership change process, increasing the risk of permanent denial.

Importance of Digital Estate Planning

You risk losing valuable data, cherished memories, and financial resources by neglecting the transfer process of your digital assets. Perhaps it’s time to consider digital estate planning. Digital estate planning safeguards your online presence and respects your desires. It also mitigates identity theft or unauthorized access to your accounts, enabling you to secure a comprehensive and organized legacy for the digital age.

How to Create a Digital Estate Plan

Inventory of Digital Assets

Safeguard your digital legacy wisely by compiling a comprehensive inventory of your digital assets, login credentials, and passwords. Store them securely to reduce the risk of theft. Avoid disclosing sensitive information in your will, as it becomes a public record after death.

Appointing a Digital Executor

Choose a trustworthy, tech-savvy digital executor to manage your digital assets posthumously or execute your wishes diligently. Your digital executor will navigate the complexities of online accounts, safeguard your data, and ensure your digital legacy is handled with care and respect, offering peace of mind to you and your loved ones.

Legal Documentation

Collaborate with an estate planning attorney to create legally binding documents covering digital assets, like a digital will or an addendum to your traditional will. The documentation ensures your online presence is managed according to your wishes, avoiding legal complexities and providing a seamless transfer of digital property to your beneficiaries.

Specific Instructions

Offer explicit guidance on the management of your digital assets, specifying your preferences regarding account closures, deletions, or memorialization. It ensures your wishes are honored and eases the burden on your loved ones during the challenging time of handling your online presence.

Digital Legacy and Social Media Accounts

Numerous social media platforms offer memorialization features, ensuring access for friends and family to cherish the memories of the deceased. Facebook, YouTube, and LinkedIn provide a “legacy contact” option, allowing users to appoint someone to manage their accounts after they pass away.

However, Facebook social displays the word “remembering” with the deceased’s name. The same rules apply to Instagram since it’s part of the parent company, Meta. On the other hand, X/Twitter only offers immediate family members the option to remove or delete the deceased’s account.

Understanding each platform’s policies on post-death account management is crucial, as they vary significantly. For instance, you can share the deceased’s photos, videos, and posts on Facebook. On YouTube, the YouTube Team facilitates the page’s management after the owner dies and the contact person has limited jurisdiction over the account.

Securing Digital Assets and Password Management

Preserving digital assets requires robust cybersecurity practices. Protect yourself by employing unique and strong passwords, enabling two-factor authentication, and staying vigilant against phishing attempts. Utilize password management tools for safe storage and utilization. Remember to grant access to your designated digital executor for effective transition and enhanced peace of mind to your family.

To learn more, contact your Barnum representative today. Don’t have one? Click to get a complimentary financial assessment.

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