Considering Digital Estate Planning? What You Need To Know
- DATE: June 30, 2018
- POSTED IN: Blog
- POSTED BY: Gene Kirzhner
No one wants to think about what will happen to their worldly possessions and assets when they are no longer here. Many think only as far as making sure that loved ones have protection through a life insurance policy, but it’s important to consider what comes next. That’s where estate planning comes into play. It ensures that what happens next for your loved ones is all laid out. Technology is changing the world, and that’s where digital estate planning comes into play.
What Is Digital Estate Planning?
Digital estate planning takes all the estate planning information and puts it into a digital format. There is also a growing need for estate planning to include information regarding the digital data that you leave behind. Think about how many online accounts you have. How many of them would your loved ones be able to access or even know about your online accounts? Also, would your family know what your wishes are when it comes to your social media accounts? Your estate planning can help answer these questions and leave no doubts down the line.
What Does Digital Estate Planning Entail?
Just as with traditional planning, digital estate planning requires you to complete an inventory of your assets after your passing. You also need to make decisions on how you want it all handled. It’s a great way to have everything in one place. That means it’s essential to have an accurate accounting of your financials. It can be helpful to compile as much information as possible before you make an appointment to handle your estate plan.
As time passes, you can update your plan as you go through life changes. It can also be helpful to have a general idea of how you want your family to handle your assets once you pass. Do you have favorite charities you want to include? Do you want something specific to go to your heirs? It can be hard to think about these questions in advance, but it can help the planning process.
Why Should You Include This in Your Estate Plan?
The technological advances that make it possible to do just about everything online are precisely why you should consider using digital estate planning. It makes sense to take steps to make handling your estate easier when you’re no longer there to do so. Many advantages come from taking these steps. The key is that when this information is often needed, it’s in the middle of one of the most painful moments a person can go through. Your digital estate planning efforts can help to take some of the burdens of trying to piece everything together once you’re gone.
When Should You Include It?
It can be a good idea to include digital estate planning in your efforts to organize your life in case something happens to you as soon as possible. A digital copy is a more accessible and more effective option than a paper copy. A binder or folder containing all this information isn’t very secure. It also can go out of date pretty quickly and may need multiple revisions before signing again. A digital copy takes away many of these issues. Securing them and updating them is simpler. You can also duplicate a digital copy. This is a backup in case the system crashes or the paperwork gets lost. No matter where you keep your estate plan for your loved ones, it’s a good idea to let them know where they can find it when it’s needed.
What Are The Factors That You Should Address in Digital Estate Planning?
Digital estate planning should include all the same information that you would find in a traditional digital estate plan. This information should consist of their will, trust, and any power of attorney paperwork. It should have information about any life insurance policies in place, as well. Also, there should be documentation of all the property and assets owned by the person. You should include things like homes, cars, and expensive property in this information. There should also be information regarding all the financial accounts.
All the above are in traditional estate planning efforts. But you can go further with your digital estate planning. What’s going to happen to your digital accounts once you’re no longer here? Digital estate planning is an excellent way to keep track of what will happen to your digital footprint once you’re not able to access it later and passwords can be saved when digital estate planning so that these accounts accessible later.
Help From A Professional
Are you considering digital estate planning as part of your estate planning process? Do you need to create a digital estate plan? The Law Offices of Howe & Garside, LTD. in Rhode Island offer estate planning services for families. Our experience in elder law can help to give you and your family peace of mind. Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss digital estate planning.