Digital assets. You know, your digital life? These assets range from things such as social networking accounts and digital photo galleries to financial-related digital assets like electronic tax returns and online banking information, etc. Essentially, it is the information you store electronically.
Since digital assets can get a little broad, let’s condense this “study” session to social media and emails.
The Terms of Service agreement for mostly all digital service providers includes a statement that user passwords and information are not shared. So, what happens to your Facebook and Instagram accounts after you pass? What about your Gmail account?
On Facebook, you can designate a legacy contact to manage your account after you’ve passed. They can do things like pinning a farewell message to your profile or letting your friends know the details of the memorial service. Your designated person can also respond to friend requests, update your profile, and cover photos, decide who can see your feed and who can post tributes, among other things. But their authority is limited. He or she won’t be able to read your messages, log into your account, or delete friends. Alternatively, you can arrange from your account to be deleted upon passing.
Instagram, owned by Facebook, has similar features and procedures when it comes to memorializing accounts. Like Facebook, your family can request the deletion of your account or have it memorialized; however, Instagram doesn’t allow you to choose a legacy contact. You’ll have to leave detailed instructions to your loved ones to have your account deleted or memorialized. To do so, he or she needs to submit proof of your passing and proof of authority under local law that the person who is attempting to delete your account is a lawful representative of you or your estate. If you choose to memorialize an account, it can’t be changed or altered in any way.
And, what about your google email? You can set up an authorized representative, called the Inactive Account Manager, to obtain the contents of your Gmail account. This allows you to specify a period of inactivity, and after you can specify the disposition of your various accounts (Gmail, Google Docs, YouTube, Photos, Plus, etc.) Having an Inactive Account Manager is a way for users to share parts of their account data or notify someone if they’ve been inactive for a certain period.
So, after reading all of this, what’s your plan of action? We suggest that everyone creates a Private Personal Information Profile or what we like to call a PPIP. This is an organized document that contains a person’s information that their families and loved ones will require after their passing or incapacitation. We believe this is one of the five (5) most important documents that every person needs, and because of this, we have provided a free guide here.
Don’t wait to get started. Create your PPIP today and contact us to get your estate planning in order so that you can also plan for your digital assets.
*This article is provided as educational information, not legal advice. Our law firm makes no claims, promises, or guarantees about the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the information contained in this article. The distribution or acceptance of this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship with our law firm.