As more of our lives are spent online, it is crucial that you ensure the seamless transition of your digital assets. Through comprehensive estate planning, you can arrange to have your digital property managed and administered in the event of incapacitation and also ensure the smooth transfer of digital assets to your beneficiaries upon your death. Specifically, through incapacity planning, you can ensure that your agent has access to oversee online accounts. And after your death, you can ensure that your executor has necessary information to locate and secure digital property for the benefit of your heirs.
Here are three important steps to help you get started:
1. The first and most important step is to inventory your digital assets. Here are some common sources of digital assets:
- Personal emails and accounts. Compile your log-in credentials for each website and online service that you use. Password managers such as 1Password, Dashlane, and LastPass act as a centralized repository where you can store log-in information for every online service you use.
- Credit card points, frequent flier miles and loyalty rewards programs. Check with service providers to learn how rewards may be transferred to beneficiaries. Make sure that you account for these rewards in your estate plan.
- Social media accounts. Meta (formerly Facebook), Twitter and business accounts.
- Cryptocurrency. Bitcoin, NFTs, etc.
- Documents. Check your phones, computers and hard drives for any data or documents concerning digital assets, including intellectual property, ownership documents, etc.
2. Secondly, check with service providers to verify whether they have independent processes to grant your agent and executor access to your digital assets. Meta and Google are two service providers that require you to select the level of access your fiduciary may have to digital assets through their own platforms. Meta’s tool is known as a Legacy Contact, while Google calls its tool the Inactive Account Manager.
3. Third and finally, inform your agent and executor where your inventory and credentials are stored. This will allow them to effectuate your wishes more efficiently.
Uncertain on where to begin? Begin by having a conversation with us, so that we may proactively help you develop your inventory and create effective strategies to protect your digital property.