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How to integrate your digital assets into your estate

On Behalf of | May 27, 2024 | Estate Planning

The modern technological age has brought a wealth of convenience, but it’s also created a new frontier in estate planning: digital assets. These intangible possessions, from social media accounts to cryptocurrency wallets, can hold significant sentimental or financial value. But what happens to them when you’re gone?

California law provides a framework, the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA), to help you manage your digital afterlife. Here’s how to incorporate these assets into your estate plan.

Manage your digital inventory

The first step is understanding what you own. Think beyond the usual suspects like email and social media. Do you have online subscriptions, loyalty programs or digital collectibles? Compile a list of all your digital assets, including usernames, passwords and any access codes.

Secure your list

This list is your key to ensuring your wishes are carried out. Don’t just leave it lying around digitally. Consider storing a password-protected document on your computer or a physical copy in a safe deposit box.

Appoint a fiduciary

Consider appointing a digital executor or agent similar to how you’d name an executor for your will. This person will be in charge of managing your digital assets according to your instructions.

Leverage on legal tools

While RUFADAA lays the groundwork for your digital assets, a will or a trust can provide more specific direction. Outline your wishes for each digital asset. Do you want certain accounts closed? What about photos shared with family? Be as specific as possible to avoid confusion.

Some social media platforms like Facebook and Google offer legacy contact or memorialization options. Explore these settings to choose what happens to your account upon your passing.

Remember, RUFADAA has limitations. Some companies may have their own policies regarding account access after death. It’s always wise to check the terms of service for each platform you use.

By taking these steps, you can ensure your digital assets are handled according to your wishes and secure your online legacy. Your digital footprint will remain a positive reflection of your life, even after you’re gone.