Preparing Your Digital Estate

There are several different things to consider when drafting your will. You may need to appoint an executor, trustees, guardians, and more. If you are like most people, you take the will-writing process very seriously. After all, it is your responsibility to ensure all your assets and wishes are distributed and carried out as you wish. The question is, then, why do we put so much time and consideration into our physical assets and estates, yet so many of us neglect what will happen with our digital estates? If you wish to learn more about your digital estate, read on:

What are my digital assets?

If you use Facebook, shop on Amazon, or browse the internet, you already have a digital estate. However, you may have several other digital assets as well. Some of these assets may be:

  • Computing hardware, such as tablets, desktop computers, laptops, iPads, digital cameras, external hard drives, flash drives, digital music players and more
  • Domain names and network infrastructure assets
  • Data packages
  • Audiovisual media, presentations, Word documents, spreadsheets, illustrations, and logos
  • Intellectual property, such as copyrighted materials, business secrets, trademarks, patents, and any other code you may own or have written
  • Data that is electronically stored online, on a cloud, or on a physical device
  • Digital tokens, or cryptocurrency 
  • Online accounts, such as email accounts, online shopping accounts, social media accounts and more

Once you gather all your digital assets, you must then appoint a digital executor. While this is typically not a legally binding position, you may instruct the executor of your will to appoint the digital executor of your choosing. You will have to provide your digital executor with all your logins and passwords, so you must be sure this is somebody you trust. This should be someone you are comfortable showing all of your personal information to.

Can a digital estate plan benefit my family?

By creating a digital estate plan now, you provide a smoother transition for your family once you pass on. Your family will not have to scramble to gather all your digital assets, they will already have passwords for the accounts you want them to close, and you may also provide your family with easy access to important information they may need. Additionally, creating a digital estate plan may help avoid online identity theft. Lastly, if your digital assets have financial value, it may need to be reported or submitted to probate.

Contact our Massachusetts firm

If you require compassionate and knowledgeable legal guidance for a matter of divorce, family or estate law, please contact the experienced attorneys at the Law Offices of Cynthia L. Hanley today. Our firm proudly serves clients in Mansfield, Massachusetts and throughout Bristol County.