Rarely do we think of our online presence as an “asset,” or consider who should take over our Facebook pages, personal blogs, and other virtual accounts in the event of our death. Having a Digital Estate Plan can protect against identity theft and ensure your personal information – like photographs, documents, and conversations – fall into the hands of people you can trust.
Contact the Brooklyn office of Michael F. Kanzer & Associates, PC for guidance to ensure your digital life will live on, or die, as you see fit.
Creating this kind of plan may seem like a difficult task, but here are five steps to ensure your digital estate is covered just as completely as your physical one:
Create an inventory list of all digital assets and how to access them
For security purposes, it’s best to create two lists – one with all your account names, and another will the account passwords. This reduces the risk of an unwanted individual acquiring the document and having access to your personal information.
On this list, you will want to ensure to include account information for all social media accounts, blogs and websites, and email addresses, but also accounts that access more personal information, like online access accounts to loans, credit or debit cards, insurance accounts, or accounts that allow you to pay bills online.
Store this information in a safe place
Now that you’ve written down how to access some very important accounts and information, you’ll want to ensure it is protected from falling into the hands of someone looking to steal your identity. Store these documents somewhere password protected, or in a safety deposit box at your bank, or with someone you can trust.
Decide who will carry out your digital estate plan
Name your digital executor, or the person who will fulfill your end-of-life digital wishes, in your will. This person should be someone able to handle the sensitive information left behind, but also someone who has strong technological skills and can ensure the accounts are handled.
Choose what should happen to your digital accounts after your death
Create a list of the next steps your digital executor should take after your death. Decide if you would like your accounts to remain open, or should they be shut down.
Make sure to consider things like: What should happen to the photos on social media pages like Facebook or Flickr? Who takes control of any active websites or blogs? Do you want your Facebook page left active as a memorial?
Create a final message to share online
If you would like someone to post a final message to your friends and family after your passing, make sure to outline what that would look like. This could include a picture of you and a message to your loved ones, or a video of your life.
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