Kristin Vana
May 25, 2023

Navigating Your Online Afterlife: A Guide to Digital Estate Management

Everyone has a big digital footprint - from social media profiles to online banking. But have you ever considered what will happen to your digital assets after you're gone? Digital estate planning - the process of managing your online asset upon your demise -  is a crucial aspect of modern-day life. 

What are Digital Assets?

Digital assets encompass a wide range of items. Theses include email accounts, social media profiles, online subscriptions, digital files, cryptocurrencies, and more. These assets hold sentimental and financial value making it essential to have a plan in place.

What if I Don't Have a Digital Estate Plan?

Without proper guidance, your digital presence could be left in a state of limbo. Even worse it may become susceptible to identity theft, or fraud. By embracing digital estate planning, you can ensure that your wishes are respected, your digital assets are safeguarded, and your loved ones can navigate the complexities of your digital life.

Steps to Create a Digital Estate Plan:

Inventory of Digital Assets

Begin by compiling a comprehensive list of your digital assets. Include login credentials, account information, and associated documents. This should encompass your email accounts, social media profiles, online financial accounts, digital storage platforms, and any other relevant online services.

Appointing a Digital Executor

Similar to a traditional executor, designate a trusted person who will handle your digital assets according to your wishes. Provide them with clear instructions and access to the necessary documents and passwords.

Specifying Your Digital Wishes

Clearly state how you want your digital assets to be managed. State whether you want them to be archived, deleted, or transferred to specific individuals. Consider the sentimental value and personal significance of certain accounts and files.

Utilizing Online Tools and Services

Numerous online platforms offer digital estate planning services, allowing you to securely store important information and specify your wishes. Facebook/Instagram and Apple have a policy of nominating a legacy contact. Twitter, Gmail, AOL, Yahoo, and SnapChat allow loved ones to deactivate a loved one’s account. LinkedIn allows you to do both.

Regular Updates to Your Plan

As your digital landscape evolves, it is crucial to review and update your digital estate plan periodically. This ensures that your plan remains up-to-date and relevant to the ever-changing online world.

Consider a password manager

Instead of having to share multiple passwords with your legacy, consider utilizing a password manager such as Dashlane or Last Pass. These service will allow you to nominate an emergency contact who then can have access to all of your passwords, making it easier and less cumbersome to transfer data.

Conclusion: Embracing Digital Legacy in Estate Planning

Taking the time to create a comprehensive digital estate plan ensures that your digital legacy is managed according to your wishes and allows you to leave a positive and lasting impact on those you leave behind. Embrace the digital age by incorporating digital estate planning into your overall estate planning strategy and secure your digital legacy for future generations.