When we die we leave a lot behind. We leave behind our loved ones, our property, our assets and sometimes our liabilities. And while most people fail to consider it, many individuals also leave behind a digital footprint as part of their estate. A digital footprint is the data we leave behind. Think about it: if you have an email account, social media accounts (Facebook, Linkedin, etc.) and an Amazon.com account, there is an awful lot of your personal information floating around on the internet. This is your digital footprint and it is important to deal with it as part of your estate.
Loved ones often have a difficult time dealing with your incapacity or death. You can make it a little easier for them by compiling a list of accounts that may contribute to your digital footprint, i.e., a Digital Asset Inventory. Accounts such as those for email, financial institutions (banks and credit cards), social media, retail, sales and those for various online services should all be considered. It is most important to consider financial accounts when compiling your Inventory. That is because these accounts can have the greatest impact on the affairs of your estate. As you begin to compile this data, be sure to list your username and password as well as the website name or URL so that the person in charge knows where on the web to go when the time comes.
After you have compiled your Digital Asset Inventory, you should share it with your spouse, family, attorney or executor. You should also discuss your wishes with them; would you want the accounts closed or transferred in the event of incapacity or death? Perhaps you want a final farewell posted to social media contacts after your passing. Planning for your digital footprint can help you to accomplish these goals.
Who gets access to the digital accounts of the deceased depends on state law and therefore varies state to state. It is a good idea to consult with an attorney to determine what the laws of your state dictate. If you would like a sample Digital Asset Inventory or have any questions about your digital footprint with regard with your estate or estate planning in general, call Las Vegas attorney S. Craig Stone at (877)905-0890 for a consultation today.