Even the most diligent planner can miss an important element of planning for end-of-life: protecting your digital legacy.
What that means is that when the time comes, your loved ones may have a very difficult time figuring out what to do with all your electronic assets. As the world becomes more and more dependent on virtual tools to handle day-to-day business, it becomes extremely important that you make arrangements to protect your digital legacy.
In a recent article published in The Atlantic, Jake Swearingen shares his story of how he went about tackling the subject with his own parents.
My parents have always been upfront with me about their wishes for when they die. I can remember talking about cremation, living wills, and Do Not Resuscitate orders way back in middle school. But when a PR pitch came across my inbox, announcing that in a recent survey only 16 percent of baby boomers had considered their “digital legacy” and only 3 percent had taken steps to prepare their family, I realized: I had no idea what my own boomer parents wanted done with their online footprints. Curious, I called them up and had a remarkably cheerful chat about what to do with their social-media remnants.
Read the full story: What I’ll Do With My Parents’ Facebook After They Die
It is taking a while for estate laws to catch up with the online world so many “do it yourself” estate planning documents don’t handle electronic accounts well. Eventually, estate planning will catch up. In the meantime, you should make sure that you have provided a trusted family member or friend with the information they need to take care of your online footprint the way you want. There are tools available to help you, such as the funeralwise.com digital legacy checklist and record book. Your estate attorney may also have suggestions on how you should manage your electronic assets. The important thing is that you pass along your wishes.