Take a moment to consider the wide array of online profiles and accounts that are floating around cyber space; bearing your name, personal information, communications, blogs, stored files, and so on. What happens to our online identities when we are gone? Who will receive access to your email, blog, and social media accounts?
In South Florida, social media & digital assets are all encompassing in our daily lives. Whether it is for work, school, home, or purely social purposes, our digital assets are incredibly valuable, & should be considered with the rest of our assets when planning our estates.
By incorporating your digital assets into your estate plan; you can achieve the following benefits:
- Control over how your accounts are closed & preserved.
- Control over choosing someone you trust to be an online executor, & follow your wishes regarding the disposal or care of your digital assets.
- Privacy – preventing the wrong person from accessing your private information.
- Ensuring that your fiduciaries discover all the vital account information when the need arises
- Prevention of identity theft – if no one has knowledge or access to your accounts, there is a higher probability that identity theft will go unnoticed.
- Easy discovery of electronic bills and similar accounts, to avoid late fees & cancellations that will create losses for the estate.
- Preserving your story – allowing family members to access your blog, photos, and other digital assets that keep your memory and story alive.
While many may advise you to simply incorporate your digital asset wishes into your will, doing so can be problematic when it comes to privacy. When a will is admitted to probate, its contents become public record. Thus, any private digital asset information you place in your will, such as usernames and passwords, are exposed to the public. As an alternative, said information can be placed in a separate document that is referenced in the will; or better yet, placed into a trust. This way, your social media identity remains private, and you can receive all of the same benefits mentioned above.