The COVID-19 pandemic has been a true wake-up call for many of us to face the hard reality of our mortality and do something about our digital assets. Security of these assets also becomes a major concern.
The growing digital usage has now turned into an established digital dependency, especially with intermittent lockdowns in various parts of the country during the COVID and post-COVID times. Apart from family albums, e-mails, and social media that went digital a long time ago; currency, banking, education, businesses, and insurance have also created a permanent digital space for themselves.In 2020, India has had over 695 million internet users, as per Statista. The numbers are forecasted to grow up to 975 million by the year 2025.
Like it or not, everything from our daily needs, to our money, to our best family memory is now available in an electronic format. A lot of these digital assets have emotional or monetary value and shall be treated like any other physical assets when it comes to inheritance. Those that don’t have value need to be disposed of, otherwise, we will be leaving them in the wild littering the digital world.
The burning question here is – “Are individuals and businesses in control of all these assets? Would their families be able to access and use them should something happen to them?”
Probably not. On average, most businesses and individuals are unaware of the scale and spread of their digital assets. What is surprising is that many do not even know how many such assets they own. This is compounded by the fact that the assets are probably spread across multiple spaces and channels, either digital or physical, making it even more difficult to manage and track. The next question to boggle your mind is – “Do you have a Digital Inheritance Plan in place for yourself or your business”.
Is Covid-19 a wake-up call?
The COVID-19 pandemic has been a true wake-up call for many of us to face the hard reality of our mortality and do something about our digital assets. Security of these assets also becomes a major concern. Is there anything one can do about it?
Most contemporary digital vaults and cloud drives offer limited services to manage and consolidate digital accounts and assets. While a few may have a legacy or post-death process, they do not openly advertise what to do in the event of a death and will only advise you if you contact them. Eventually, it is left to the individual to figure out their own “digital estate plan”. There was no comprehensive solution that addresses this topic until recently. Laws like - the Information Technology Act, 2000 does not address digital assets yet.
The Solution Ahead
The modern-day Fintech solutions are helping reduce this stress and confusion. Companies have brought an all-in-one digital legacy platform that helps safely store and manage all data with proprietary safety features. Such FinTech/LegalTech creates easily-shareable ICE (In Case of Emergency) vaults, along with a digital vault, a digital time capsule, and a will for online accounts. Most legacy solutions offer one feature at a time with limited control.
Right now, you might be thinking that your digital assets are still not large or valuable enough to merit a will. Or, that you are too young and death is probably the last thing on your mind.
If there is one takeaway that to leave you with, it is precisely this: your digital assets are worth planning for, and when you create a legacy plan, it is not just for you, but for your loved ones. It is never too early (or late) to start one!
Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house