Understanding Digital Wills

We live in a digital world. There’s no getting around it. Passwords and PINs are a fact of modern life. We use them daily, multiple times. But have you ever considered what would happen to your digital identity if you died? It is essential to consider.

Estate planning considers the financial power of attorney, healthcare proxy, beneficiaries, care for your dependents and pets, and how your assets will be divided. But, often, digital estates are ignored. Our understanding of planning estates in this digital age is evolving, and because of such, digital wills are gaining popularity.

Digital Property and Probate Court

Every estate must go through probate. But, digital property is not subject to probate court. You may prepare a digital asset that outlines your plans for your estate. This is where you will leave important information so trusted loved ones can easily access it.

What is Contained in a Digital Will?

As do traditional estates, digital wills vary from person to person. But they typically contain some similar items. Some of the more common ones are listed below:

  • Final wishes
  • Plans for your estate
  • Personal notes
  • Passwords for devices such as computers, tablets, and telephones
  • PIN for voicemail
  • PINs for ATM cards
  • Passwords and credentials corresponding with bank accounts
  • Social media and photo-sharing passwords
  • A list of subscriptions, like streaming services, grocery or meal planning items, online shopping subscriptions, mobile phone apps, book and music subscriptions, prescriptions, and deliveries for pets, with notes about how each account is paid
  • Credentials, PINs, or passwords that correspond with cryptocurrency wallets and websites
  • Legal documents
  • Email passwords and passwords and email addresses for the cloud
  • Passwords for student loans, medical portals, and mortgages
  • Credit card logins
  • Insurance passwords and login information
  • Automobile, home improvement, and business loan credentials and login information

This list is far from complete. But, hopefully, it reminds you of the many passwords, PINs, and credentials that you use so that you can make those available to your

What about Digital Assets, Legacy Policies, and User Licenses?

Often, we assume that our online property is our own. But, ownership of these assets can be more complex. Some of our accounts we merely gain access to through user licenses. More and more digital service providers are coming to understand that they have a substantial role in our lives.

Companies are beginning to understand that when you pass away, there may be a way that you desire your accounts to be handled. So, provisions are being made to make our digital lives more accessible for our loved ones to navigate. Legacy policies have recently become common in the service agreements we agree to regarding our digital lives.

There is no uniform way that all accounts are handled. So, some confusion can easily happen. Some require a personal representative to control the accounts. Others automatically delete inactive accounts. When creating a digital will, examine the legacy policies you need to address and provide information for your personal representative so that they will understand how to access each account.

Let’s Discuss Your Digital Estate

It is a good idea to plan ahead for all aspects of your estate. The Law Offices of William D. Black is ready to walk you through all aspects of estate planning, from traditional to digital. We can answer any questions you may have since we stay abreast of all the changes in this rapidly moving digital world. Reach out today for a consultation.