Your Digital Estate Planning Guide

You’ve probably heard all about estate planning. You are familiar with wills, trusts, powers of attorney, and medical directives and have possibly gone through the process of organizing and documenting your life so that someone else can take care of things if you are unable to do so yourself.

But traditional estate planning is no longer enough. Our world has changed substantially, and we now have a new aspect to take into consideration: your digital life. Have you stopped to think about what would happen to all of those online accounts and the personal information they hold if something happened to you? Would your loved ones be able to access them? Would they even know where to look and what to look for?

We manage so much of our lives online these days. It is important for your family to have the means to access and wrap up your digital life in order to protect you from ongoing subscriptions, identity theft, and fraud. If you’re ready to start your digital estate planning, here’s what you need to do:

1. Document the Details

Your first step is to make a list of every digital account that you have. You probably won’t be able to do this all at once because there are so many and some are very infrequently used. Once you’ve made your initial list, you will continue to remember accounts to add while you’re going about your daily activities.

Don’t worry if you know you’re missing some accounts. You can always add them to your list later. To help you out, we’ve made a checklist of the accounts you may have that you can download here.

For each account, you need to record any information that someone would need to access and manage the account. This includes:

  • Sign in URL
  • Username
  • Password
  • Account number
  • Credit card information associated with the account
  • Answers to any security questions

Be sure to make note of anything that automatically renews, like domain hosting, medications, or Netflix. If you use a password manager, then that is the only username and password you need to note. However, you still need to list out all of your accounts so you can leave instructions for how to handle them when you are gone.

Download The Digital Estate Planning Checklist Now

2. Communicate Your Wishes

What do you want to be done with the different parts of your digital life? Some accounts you will simply want deleted. But others, such as photo sharing sites, you may want archived and saved. Many people’s Facebook pages are left active after they pass away as a memorial to them and a place where family and friends can grieve. You may want to pass some things, like domain names, on to family, friends, or business colleagues. It is especially important to have a plan for anything of monetary value.

Whether you want it shut down, sold, or passed on, it won’t happen unless you put it down in writing. It is important to write out exactly what you would like to happen with every aspect of your digital life so that your wishes can be followed. Don’t assume your loved ones know what you want. Eliminate the burden of guesswork and create a plan.

3. Name an Executor

You need to choose someone to carry out your plan and make your wishes a reality. Your digital executor is different than the executor of your estate and the role is not legally binding. Although some states allow you to name them in your will.

Choose someone that is comfortable with technology and able to confidently navigate the internet, such as someone from a younger generation.

4. Secure Your Information

This list that you made contains very valuable information and could create a big mess for you if it gets into the wrong hands. You need to store it in a secure, yet accessible, location. You can put it in the hands of an attorney, use an online storage provider, or keep it in a locked file cabinet or safe. Make sure at least two trustworthy people know where it is stored and have the ability to access it. One of these people should be your digital executor.

How We Can Help

No one likes to think about the end of their life, but if you want to set your loved ones up for success, you need to have a plan in place. If all of this seems overwhelming to you, you’re not alone. That’s why so many people avoid estate planning and leave their families with a mess. But it doesn’t have to be that way. We are here to help. At Navigate Private Wealth, we can help you with every aspect of your estate planning, from leaving an inheritance to passing on an online business.

Download The Digital Estate Planning Checklist Here

Navigate Private Wealth LLC is an SEC Registered Investment Advisor, 12012 S 700 E, Suite 100, Draper, UT 84020.  Securities offered through Allegis Investment Services, Member FINRA/SIPC. Supervisory office located at 10235 South Jordan Gateway, Suite 420, South Jordan, UT 84095.