More and more, our lives are going digital. Our memories, our ideas, our personal information and our finances all are stored electronically.
What happens to all of this when we pass away or are incapacitated? The time to plan is now.
Just this year, Facebook began allowing its users to name a person who will be able to manage and memorialize their social media account so that friends and family can learn about services and have a place to remember and honor their loved one.
It’s a great idea to name someone to take care of your Facebook page. It’s an even better idea to identify who will take care of ALL of your digital assets.
When working with you on your financial estate planning, we generally recommend that you name a digital executor. This person might be the same as your traditional executor, or potentially a child or grandchild who is more technically savvy. While a spouse or a child will likely have the ability to take care of these accounts if a digital executor isn’t named outright, it is always better be as specific as possible in your legal documents.
If you own a business, think about your company’s digital assets and who should manage those, too. Do you have an employee who can be entrusted with this information, or should a family member take care of these matters?
There are four steps that you should take to ensure your executor can safely and securely take care of all of your digital assets when you’re no longer able.
1. Create categories of accounts.
To ensure that you’re capturing every one of the digital assets in your estate plan, first think about all of the types of assets you have: social media sites, entertainment sites, dating sites, photo sharing sites, financial accounts, email accounts and magazine subscriptions are just a few examples.
2. List all of your assets under these categories.
Be certain to include how they can be accessed or where they are stored.
3. Create a list of log-ins and passwords.
Make sure to update this very important list annually. You can store it in a safety deposit box or you can use a password-protected site designed to keep this type of information safe. Be sure to let your digital executor know how to access this information.
4. Get specific.
Be very detailed in what you want to happen with each of these accounts. Should your social media presence be deleted or memorialized? Who should take ownership of your digital photos? Your digital executor’s responsibility will seem less overwhelming if he or she knows your specific wishes.
Working through your digital assets should be an integral component to your estate planning process. If you’re ready to speak to someone about how to lift the weight of worrying what will happen to your estate when you’re gone, contact Wescott Financial Advisory Group here.