Most Americans have at least one social media profile, and even those who prefer to keep in touch through other means still tend to leave a digital legacy. Assets may include online banking accounts, subscription services like Netflix, and shopping accounts like eBay and Amazon. If you fail to include them in essential estate planning documents, surviving family members could face additional challenges when navigating probate. Below, the knowledgeable team at Metcalf & Quinn in Wisconsin Rapids, WI, explains how to manage this area of your life.
Why It’s Important to Account for Digital Assets
After someone passes, the executor of their estate is responsible for notifying financial institutions, stopping or transferring all automatic payments, and closing applicable accounts, including digital ones. If you pay for an online streaming service, for example, or use PayPal for certain transactions, family members will have to cancel or transfer the accounts upon your death. Deleting or locking social media accounts is also necessary for preventing others from hacking into them or stealing their content.
Steps for Protecting Your Digital Legacy
The first step to protecting a digital legacy is taking an inventory of all that it contains. Jot down each account and its login information, including the passwords to your computer and phone, as well. Then, consider what should happen to each account after you pass. Most of them will likely be closed, but if you own any websites or apps that are of value, you can handle them like traditional assets by bequeathing them to a friend or family member. The final step is naming a digital executor, who should probably be someone who is both younger than you and tech-savvy, like an adult child or niece or nephew.
If you need help including digital assets in your estate planning documents, turn to Metcalf & Quinn. Based in Wisconsin Rapids, they serve clients throughout South Central Wisconsin, and their legal team has roughly 85 years of combined experience. By limiting their areas of focus to probate and real estate law, they provide the most in-depth, comprehensive counsel possible. To arrange a meeting with a knowledgeable estate planning attorney, visit their website or call (715) 423-1940 today.