Take a moment to think about how much of your time you spend online. If you’re like most Americans, you spend a significant amount of your day engaging with the world via electronic means — both for work and personal reasons.
Have you ever stopped to think about what will happen to your password-protected accounts, the files you’ve uploaded to the Cloud and every email you’ve ever written when you die? Would you want your spouse, parents and/or children to access every inch of your digital footprint and to do with it as they please, or would you like to have some say in what is going to happen to that footprint when you’re gone?
Working to better ensure that your preferences concerning your digital footprint – in the event of incapacitation or death – are clearly articulated and enforceable is the primary purpose of digital estate planning. Digital estate planning, much like crafting a will, allows you to clearly indicate how you want your electronic assets, such as accounts, intellectual property and more – to be managed if you are no longer in a position to manage them yourself.
Note that you can both plan for what you want to happen in the event of your death and in the event of incapacity. For example, say that you want your social media profiles closed after your death, but you want them to remain active if you are hurt in an accident and expected to recover. Similarly, you may want certain assets distributed in the event of your death but to remain untouched if you are in a coma. These are the kinds of goals that digital estate planning can help you to achieve.
Most every adult can benefit from digital estate planning. Consider seeking legal guidance to learn more.