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Digital assets need to be part of your estate planning, P.2

In our previous post, we began discussing the importance incorporating your digital assets into your estate plan. We’ve already spoken about compiling a list of one’s digital accounts and access information, storing this information properly and appointing a “digital executor.” Now we’ll speak about giving instructions for the disposition of the assets themselves.

Most people will probably not need to write a separate written plan for their digital accounts for bank or brokerage accounts, as their will likely takes care of these assets. The important thing is to ensure the executor knows how to obtain the list of online financial accounts. Non-financial digital assets, however, are the place to focus on these instructions. 

One suggestion is to create a to-do list detailing how all your other digital assets should be handled at your death. This list should address things like whether you want any accounts deactivated when you die, or whether any action should be taken with respect ot specific assets such as online photos, mp3 recordings, kindle books, and so on.

This document, when complete, should be given to your digital executor.


Before writing these instructions out, it is important to review the terms of service on your digital accounts, particularly social media accounts like Facebook, since these agreements take precedence over state law. Some accounts, like Youtube, require a death certificate and a copy of a document demonstrating the person attempting to access the account has power of attorney over the account. Each user agreement is different.


As a final step of your digital estate plan, consider whether you would like to post any final messages on your social media accounts. This is an individual preference, but can be part of your overall plan. 

Source: Source: Next Avenue, “5 Steps to Creating Your Digital Estate Plan,” Catey Hill, April 12, 2013.