When we think of wills and trusts, we think about our assets, the family home, and what happens to grandma’s jewelry. It’s been that way for years, that we address our physical belongings in our estate plan so that what we own ends up with who we want to own it after we’re gone.
Of course, times are changing. Now, in addition to bequeathing your actual property, you should make you take care of your digital property.
We know. It sounds silly. But there are plenty of reasons to make arrangements for your email account, your computer files, your social network accounts and more.
Say, for example, you’ve got a well-establish Twitter account. Say you use it for business. What happens when you’re no longer around? Do you want it shut down or passed to your business partner or family?
What about your emails, the modern day version of correspondence? Some of us are lucky enough to have the letters sent by our elders, written in meticulous hand, back and forth for decades. We can read them to get a better idea of who these people really were, what they valued, the experiences they had. Aren’t our email addresses the same thing?
Or take your music library. If you had all your favorite albums on vinyl, wouldn’t you make sure that a music lover you were close to would get those records? If all your music is digital, what happens to it then?
All these questions can be answered in your Will by including a Digital Executor. This person doesn’t need to be the same as a typical executor, but they certainly can be. A Digital Executor is in charge of your digital life and can be instructed to delete, transfer, save, back up, download, or continue using your assets when you’re gone. If you’ve already got a Will, you can create a Codicil that deals only with your digital assets.
Another option is to use a Digital Asset Trust. This option not only allows you to name who gets control of your digital property when you’re gone, but it also lets you tap someone to manage your assets if you become incapacitated.
Thinking about who’d control your email even ten years ago might have been, well, unthinkable. But we all know things are different. Rocket Lawyer has recently updated its Will to include a section for selecting a digital executor so you can keep make sure you’ve taken care of everything.
After all, your digital assets are important. It’s everything on your computer and everything in the cloud associated with you. Those assets are part of your legacy. Make sure you take care of them by including a digital executor in your Will or by creating a Digital Asset Trust.
- Complete Will with Digital Assets Provision (rocketlawyer.com)
- Codicil to Will (rocketlawyer.com)
- Digital Asset Trust (rocketlawyer.com)