How often do you think about your digital legacy?
When we think of estate planning, one of the first things that comes to mind is a list of the assets we own. But have you ever considered your digital assets as a part of this list? Are you aware of the contents that comprise your digital legacy? With the digital revolution occurring, these are two important questions we must begin considering.
Digital assets comprise of anything you create and have the right to use in the digital space. These can include digitized images and videos, email addresses, social media accounts, and domain names. Digital assets also include statements written over email and documents stored on a cloud, such as a Dropbox account. And these are what make up your digital legacy.
Before digital, most individuals would store documents such as financial records or property documentation in files at home. Now, many people bank online and keep track of information such as mortgages, insurance, and taxes online. Storing this information on a cloud service has several benefits. When important documents are on a cloud, they are easy to access and stored in one central location. It is easy to see why people prefer this method as opposed to saving documents that gather dust.
The issue with digitization and cloud storage, however, is if your beneficiary or estate administrator does not have access to the storage space, they may be unable to obtain the proper documents to inherit or administer an estate plan. Two simple solutions are to provide the designated individual with a list of passwords or provide directions to access any digital assets.
A New York Times article on this topic shared valuable insight on examples of digital legacy assets, steps one can take to include them in an estate plan, and important factors to consider. The best first step is to begin listing out the digital assets you own. Then creating a document with logins and passwords to your accounts. The document can be submitted to your trusted estate planning attorney to include with your plan.