Almost everyone, regardless of age, has an extensive online footprint through social media, email, texting, online subscriptions and everything that we store in the cloud. It’s essential to include these items in an estate plan to keep heirs from facing added stress and needless costs.

For many years, managing these digital assets was a chore for executors, but thankfully estate planning laws have nearly caught up to the times. For most, it’s a glaring mistake not to include their digital life, such as personal photos and documents, financial accounts and more.

What is a digital asset?

Loosely defined, a digital asset is any online account or service belonging to you protected by a password or other security, such as:

  • Your smartphone and computer
  • Email accounts
  • Facebook, Instagram and other social media
  • Personal photos and video
  • Computer files stored in your cloud account
  • Banking or investment accounts managed online
  • Digitized medical records
  • Web domains and online businesses owned by you
  • Texts
  • Online subscriptions

Your first step should be to create a detailed list of all assets, such as those above, along with any others you own. An experienced estate planning attorney can help you include them in your estate plan.

Including detailed log-in info is essential

Once you make a list, make sure that you include all the information your executor will need to access them. These include:

  • Web address for each account
  • Username or personal ID
  • Passwords
  • Details for two-step authentication
  • Answers to security questions

Once this information is gathered, decide who will have access and how you want this information managed. Then, have your lawyer include these wishes in your living trust and will. Doing this is essential, so your wishes and legacy are protected.