Motivation Traditional technologies protect a user’s privacy by upholding the basic information security directive that the user, and only the user, have sole exclusive custody and knowledge of his keys. They also assume, both in theory and in practice, that the user is immortal and perennially healthy. The corollary […]
What Is Digital Estate Planning? Digital estate planning is estate planning for digital or online assets, such as e-mail, text messages, websites, financial or personal information, and social networking accounts. Digital estate planning is a new field, so there are no federal statutes and only a handful state laws […]
When writing a will or planning your estate you should also think about your digital assets and what will happen to them once you are gone.
A lot of people are not taking their digital estate into account when putting their will together, despite the fact that it could be worth thousands of pounds. Things like music files, films, ebooks, PayPal balances, online bank accounts and registered domain names all add up, and many people are sitting on a fortune in digital assets. Aside from the monetary value of digital property, there is also sentimental value to think about. Photos that are stored online could become inaccessible to your loved ones unless you specify your wish to pass your accounts on.
It’s Good to Talk
There may be assets that your family aren’t even aware of too. Talking about your will with your family is often considered a taboo, but it is vital to include your loved ones in the planning process and make them aware of any property they may not know about – particularly digital property. Compiling a list of any online accounts you own, as well as important or valuable files and their locations is the best way of ensuring they are passed on. Keeping an inventory will also help you to organise your digital assets to make the process easier. There are various password management services online which store usernames and passwords to any online accounts you have. This service is then accessed by a single master password which can be given to an executor so they can access all the information they need in one place.
Planning in Advance
Complications can arise when transferring digital assets. Handing over digital media such as music, films and ebooks may depend on the terms of service. Some providers may stipulate that despite paying for the product, you don’t actually own it, therefore cannot transfer ownership to another person. Some services actually require a death certificate to be presented in order to close or transfer ownership of an account or device. If you are planning to store your digital media with an online storage provider such as Dropbox, check the terms of service. Storing your media in one place, only for your relatives to find out they are unable to access your account after you have died could be devastating.
One of the best ways to ensure you secure your digital legacy is to seek help from professionals. If you would like advice or assistance on writing a will, please get in touch.
Those of us in finance spend a lot of time planning for retirement (or helping others plan for retirement,) but life never goes exactly as planned. In case of a sudden tragedy that leaves you unable to care for your loved ones, there’s a company that will help guide them through the process of managing your affairs.
Everplans co-founder Abby Schneiderman came to a realization when she was planning her wedding six years ago. Schneiderman was using wedding-planning websites, apps and calendars to organize the seemingly-infinite amount of moving parts that planning a wedding involves.
When she took a longer view of her post-wedding life, she found that there were plenty of services that would help her plan for retirement. But no one was offering to help her plan for beyond that, or, if she didn’t make it that far.
“The first idea for Everplans was to create the first consumer brand in end of life planning and help people navigate this topic in a way that was more modern and sophisticated and in a way that spoke to people like other sites that exist to help plan for other life stages,” Schneiderman said in an interview with Benzinga.
To build her business, Schneiderman took an unusual tack. Schneiderman and her co-founder Adam Seifer created Everplans by writing hundreds of articles about finding the best life insurance, how to pay for funerals, and the end-of-life traditions of various faiths.
“We wrote over 500 original articles on everything from how do you write a will to what to wear to a funeral, and everything in between,” said Schneiderman. “The light bulb went off for us when we noticed that we were the No. 1 organic listing for “get help finding life insurance.”
Everplans’ SEO success came with some personal tragedy for Schneiderman. About a year after founding the company, her brother died at 51 in a car accident. She said it was a “disaster” for her family to figure out how he would have wanted to settle his affairs.
“In the event that there is a death in the family, whether it is a tragic car accident or a death that occurs for natural reasons, families are left in a nightmare situation,” Schneiderman said. “We found we could really be helpful by going beyond providing content. What if we could help people get a plan in place ahead of time? We could become invaluable to people at a critical moment in their lives. So that’s what we set out to do.”
Everplans has two primary products: a retail site that costs $75/year and an enterprise product called Everplans Professional, which allows financial advisors and estate attorneys to offer the planning service to their clients to build a deeper bond beyond the numbers. Both the consumer and professional platforms help users organize, store and share all their legal, financial, healthcare and personal information so their loved ones can find it when they need it.
Everplans now has over 2,500 articles on its site, as well as state-by-state guides, checklists and worksheets. The editorial content is overseen by Gene Newman, former editor-in-chief of Maxim’s online properties.
“The articles on our site look more like articles that you would find on a site like Buzzfeed than it does a site talking about planning for insurance,” Schneiderman said. “We really did that on purpose. The type of content that we have, the topics that we’re covering are things like digital cheat sheets, how to create a digital estate plan. We are walking people through the topics in a really nice and simple way and talking to them in a tone that is really very human.”
The strategy is paying off for the company. Everplans has raised over $15 million to date, most recently closing a $6 million Series A in June.
Learn more about Everplans on its site.