Estate planning has come a long way over the past few decades. No longer is it about assets that have a monetary value, it is also about your digital footprint. With the rise in Internet usage, more and more people are concerned about how their social media accounts, emails, and online photos will be used. From being able to pay bills to safeguarding your identity, your loved ones can struggle when your digital assets are not included in your estate plan. To better protect yourself even after you are gone, here are some tips for securing your digital assets.
Determine Who Is in Charge
Your digital assets are much different than other assets you own because they do not necessarily have any monetary value to them. They do, however, have some privacy linked to them. When choosing someone to manage your social media accounts, emails, and more, you have to consider who will protect your privacy more when dealing with the accounts. You could have messages or photos that you do not want anyone seeing. When you are gone, you have to be able to trust the person not to go through each message or photo. This person could be someone completely different than the person you want in charge of your financial assets.
List Your Account Information Separately
It is very common to make a list of your assets and include them in your will, but you do not want to list your online account information in your will. This is because you never know who could get access to this information and use it to contradict your will. This is also ideal when you need to change logins and passwords often. If you feel that your online accounts could get in the wrong hands, you want to make sure you have them well-protected by changing the login information. By separating this information from the rest of the assets listed in the will, it is easier to change logins and passwords without all the work of changing the will.
Review the Terms of Service
Switching your accounts over to another person could go against the terms of agreement. If someone needed to get into your messages or emails to pay your bills, they may have to obtain a court order. It is important to read up on the policy about transferring accounts. You should communicate the information to the person you are putting in charge to be sure they understand the responsibility of controlling the accounts once you are gone. This will make it much easier for them to use your accounts to carry out your wishes.
Talk to an estate planning attorney to get your digital assets secured for the future.