If you have been online in the last few weeks you have undoubtedly read about Facebook’s new feature allowing users to select a “legacy contact.” With social media becoming more embedded in our daily lives, the nature of estate planning has to adapt to the changing times.
Technology evolves at a speed much faster than with which the law can keep up, however, changes are starting to happen more rapidly on a smaller scale. Last year for example, Delaware became the first law to pass a digital fiduciary law, allowing someone of an individual’s choosing to lawfully have access to his or her digital assets.
Often, the digital aspect of our lives and of estate planning is not about the value of the assets contained in our online accounts, rather, it is about preserving memories, important to us and our loved ones. Because there is no uniform law on access to digital assets, every platform and website has its own rules, however, there are several ways in which to have at least some control over your digital afterlife. In addition to Facebook, there are online services available that are specifically designed to assist users with digital planning. For example, password managers, such as KeePass or 1Password allow users to securely store their passwords and logon information. Services such as Planned Departure or AssetLock are online vaults/monitoring systems that allow users to store their important information, name beneficiaries and designate digital ‘executors.’
These types of services offer ease of access and can provide peace of mind and extra security. There are still, however, some people who will write their usernames and passwords on a sheet of paper, which they keep in a drawer next to the computer. I strongly discourage this type of practice as the list can easily be misplaced, tampered with, or become outdated. Adapting to a new product or service can sometimes be difficult, but the benefits will be worth the change. For additional information about how to inventory and keep you digital assets secure, please send us an e-mail with your request.
While many online service providers have made a step in the right direction, the law has a long way to go in terms of accounting for digital asset planning. One way that you can not only have more control over what happens to your digital property, but also avoid headaches for your loved ones is to plan ahead with proper estate planning. Estate planning is not just about figuring out how to distribute your stuff; it is about life planning; planning ahead, and it should include your digital (after) life.
To learn more about what digital assets entail, how to inventory your digital property, and how to preserve these important things, read our FAQs.
For a free consultation about your digital asset planning, please contact our office at (818) 835-1242 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The entities, services, and products named in this article are not endorsed, sponsored by, or otherwise affiliated with Tarasyuk Law Offices.