Planning For Your Digital Legacy from Austin Estate Planning Attorney Elizabeth Ziegler

Digital Legacy

The phrase “estate planning” conjures certain images. Most people find themselves thinking of who will take care of them when they’re unable to make medical or financial decisions. Or they picture leaving items like grandma’s silver tea service or the family ranch to their children and loved ones.  While neither of these are incorrect, they’re also not the full picture anymore. Now that so much of our lives are lived online, it’s important to plan for your digital legacy.

Planning to Pass On Your Digital Assets

While your estate planning attorney and financial advisors can help you determine the best way to leave behind certain digital assets, like any crypto currency you may have, there are other aspects to our digital lives that need to be handled personally.  This blog has already touched on what will likely happen to your archive of digital movies after you pass away.  And the same is true for other digital assets like your Kindle library or catalogue of digital video games.

Leaving Behind Your Online Presence

The question of how and if you’re able to transfer your online assets is only one part of the digital estate planning, the other is how to manage your online presence. So many of us have email addresses, shopping accounts, blogs, and social media accounts that will likely outlive us. Part of crafting a full estate plan is deciding what to do with these online vestiges of yourself.

Each platform currently handles the question of digital legacy a little different. Currently Facebook allows users to name a legacy contact, who can handle things like death announcements, and managing or overseeing the shutting down of your Facebook account after you’ve passed away. But, for all its size, Facebook is just one drop in the social media ocean. Platforms such as Google, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and others all have methods to remove your account after you’ve passed away.

What Can You Do Now?

If the thought of all that legwork is too daunting, one helpful thing people can do is to collect all their email, online banking/bill pay, online shopping, and social media passwords into one location (either on a protected device or onto a hardcopy format kept somewhere safe), and then sharing the location of that collection with the people you have named as a trusted helper or fiduciary.  So even if you never get around to telling Gmail what you want done after you pass away, your executor can quickly set your digital affairs in order.

Give Us a Call

If you’ve never thought to include your digital life into your estate plan, or if you’ve never crafted an estate plan before and want to make sure you plan for your digital life too, Nielsen Law PLLC provides family focused estate planning to individuals and families in Austin, Round Rock, Cedar Park, and the Central Texas area.  For more information and to learn about our firm, please contact us.