What Happens to My Digital Assets When I’m Gone?

Modern technology has changed estate planning forever. We hear from clients who are concerned about what will happen to their digital assets and data when they die. After all, much of our lives are spent and stored online today.

Your estate plan will need to account for these assets similar to the way other assets are handled but, in some cases, there are other ways to transition those assets, as well. It ultimately depends on what the asset is and what you want to be done with it.

Phone and Cloud Data

We take our phones everywhere. For most people, their phone contains enough information to access bank accounts, manage investments, detail search histories, access social media accounts, and more.

All of this information in the wrong hands could lead to some serious problems for your estate and your loved ones, as well as your legacy. If you fail to account for your phone and cloud data at all, then your loved ones will need to go through the court to get access to this information – creating a long and sometimes expensive process.

Apple allows users to designate a legacy contact under settings that provides an individual with access to their data after death. Google has a similar feature for Android users and Apple users that use Google, that allows users to designate a legacy contact.

Social Media Accounts

Access to social media accounts may seem as simple as having a password, but you might not want to grant access to these while you’re still alive. It’s important to be able to answer three key questions about what you want to happen to your social media accounts when you die:

  1. How will your accounts be accessed?
  2. Who should have access to your accounts?
  3. What do you want them to do with your account?

How your accounts are accessed will be up to you. Do you want to leave a password behind? A legacy contact may be the better alternative. Some social media websites, such as Facebook, allow you to establish this contact who will be granted access to the account at the time of your death.

The who and what are truly up to you, but it’s important to choose someone you trust to carry out these wishes. This person will be in charge of either deleting your account or maybe even releasing a statement about your death and then leaving it up as a memorial to you.

Other Digital Assets to Consider

While our phone, cloud, and social media data may be priorities in digital estate planning, a number of other digital assets must be accounted for. This includes but is not limited to:

  • Digital photo and video vaults
  • E-coin wallets
  • Websites you own or manage
  • Dropbox or similar file-storage accounts
  • E-Book accounts

At Charleston Estate Planning Law Firm, we understand modern estate planning needs. The world is evolving and it’s important that your estate plan reflects the reality of today and tomorrow. Contact us and start planning for the future.

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Charleston Estate Planning Law Firm

At the Charleston Estate Planning Law Firm, we believe that estate planning is all about protecting your family and loved ones in the event of your incapacity or death.

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