Rampulla & Newstad LLP

In our increasingly digital world, we leave behind a substantial footprint of online assets and digital legacies. From social media accounts to email subscriptions, these digital assets hold both sentimental and financial value. However, many individuals overlook the importance of incorporating these assets into their estate plan.

When we talk about “digital assets,” this may cover a wide range of items, including but not limited to:

  • Social Media Accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn profiles. What needs to be done with those? Is there a way to keep the content?
  • Email Accounts including Gmail®, Outlook®, Yahoo® and other email services. Who can access that?
  • Digital Subscriptions like our beloved streaming services, online publications, and software licenses. This includes ancestry profiles, picture storage sites, airfare miles, and other points and rewards.
  • Cryptocurrencies and Online Financial Accounts: Bitcoin, PayPal, and online banking accounts.

Failure to account for these digital assets in your estate plan can lead to complications and potential loss. Without clear instructions, loved ones may struggle to access or manage your digital accounts, facing obstacles such as password protection, user agreements, and legal complexities. Moreover, neglecting digital assets can result in financial losses and irreversible loss of sentimental data.

So how can we take caution and protect our digital legacy? Start by creating a comprehensive list of your digital assets including login credentials, account details and other instructions for accessing. This will prevent your family from an additional struggle during an emotional and stressful time.

Make sure you designate a digital executor in your estate plan. This should be a trusted individual who will manage your digital assets after your passing. Ensure they have access to all the necessary information to access and know your wishes regarding each asset.

Most importantly, review and update your estate plan regularly, to ensure new accounts are added to the list, passwords are updated, or changes in ownership are noted. As the digital world becomes even more entwined in our day-to-day lives, laws are being updated to account for those changes. Many statutes now include references to digital assets and have established rules for the management and deletion of those assets.

In conclusion, digital estate planning is a critical aspect of estate planning in the digital age. By proactively addressing your digital assets, you can safeguard your legacy and provide clarity for your loved ones during a challenging time. Take the step and call us today to begin to protect your digital footprint.