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What Happens to Your Digital Footprint When You Are Gone?

Posted on September 15th, 2022

At Daly Mills Estate Planning, our Mooresville attorneys know that getting your affairs in order takes time. Even in the beginning stages, when you are outlining your finances, listing accounts, labeling assets and debts, and preparing to meet with a Mooresville estate planning lawyer, the task can seem daunting — even for the most organized individuals.

The good news is, determining what happens to your tangible assets after you are gone can be accomplished with a Will or Trust.

What most people do not consider is what happens to their digital footprint — or online accounts — once they are gone.

Thankfully, most digital platforms have begun to address the issue of a trusted individual accessing the digital content of its account holders after death.

What Should I Consider Before Providing Another Person with Access to My Online Accounts?

First, it is a good idea to take an online account inventory, so you can establish which accounts are important and prioritize adding a second user.

Common online accounts may include checking and savings accounts, credit card accounts, retirement and investment accounts, social media accounts, Apple or Google IDs, Amazon or other retail accounts, music, cloud storage accounts, and any accounts that have recurring charges, like streaming services or priority memberships.

Next, choose someone you trust, who will take charge of your online accounts, and close them (or whatever your wishes may be) properly.

Once you have a conversation with this person, and he or she agrees to be your personal representative for all things online, determine if each digital account you have has a built-in service that allows you to choose a trusted person who can take over the account, or if you will have to physically provide him or her with your login information instead.

For instance, Apple has a service called Legacy Contact that allows a person of your choice to have access to the data in your Apple account after your death. Google has a similar feature called Interactive Account Manager.

For email, banks, social media accounts, music, and other important accounts you use each day, you may have to supply your personal representative with your login information, including your usernames and passwords. Keep in mind, the most important piece of information may be the access code to your smartphone, tablet, or computer, so they can get started at the source.

Revisit these settings if there are changes in your personal life, like a death, divorce, or friendship that is no longer as close as it was, so you can ensure your accounts are safe while you use them, and when you can no longer use them.

Do You Need Help Outlining Your Tangible and Online Assets? We Can Help.

To learn more about how we can help you establish a will or trust that fits both your online and in-person needs, call us at (704) 286-8437 to schedule an initial consultation with our estate planning attorneys in Mooresville, North Carolina today.