One of the primary reasons why it is so important to have a current estate plan in place at all times is that few people are eager to burden their loved ones with stressful estate management tasks in the wake of their death. Ideally, you probably want to make the task of managing your estate as easy as possible for your loved ones. As a result, if you haven’t already done so, it’s time to start thinking about digital estate planning.
Digital estate planning serves two primary functions. First, it will allow your loved ones to better understand how you want your online accounts and assets to be handled after you’re gone. Second, it will allow you to not leave a digital “mess” in your wake for your loved ones to sort out when they should be focused on processing their grief.
How digital estate planning works
Think about all the time you spend online. How many password-protected accounts do you access on a regular basis? How much of your financial “life” is managed, stored or tracked electronically? Do you utilize social media? Do you upload photos, creative work and/or other assets to the Cloud?
When you craft a digital estate plan, you’ll specify who should – and who should not – access your digital accounts when you’re gone. You’ll also detail which digital assets should be passed on, which accounts should be closed, how open accounts should be managed and how to access your online “footprint.”
If this task sounds daunting, that is understandable. Yet, it remains important to start researching your digital estate planning options both because doing so will ensure that your wishes are honored and that your loved ones aren’t burdened with getting your affairs in order in this way.