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Digital Estate Planning

Estate Planning Lawyer

Take a moment to think about how much time you spend online and interacting with electronic media every day. If you are like most Americans, you spend a significant amount of your time on the Internet, taking digital photos, uploading or accessing material on the Cloud, or otherwise engaging with the world via electronic means. Have you ever thought about how your digital footprint will be managed in the event that you pass away or are no longer in a position to control it (say, if you unexpectedly slipped into a coma)? If you haven’t, it is time to start thinking about incorporating some digital estate planning into your broader estate plan.

Over the past decade, the concept of digital estate planning has become increasingly relevant and increasingly influential on the ways in which estates are managed when individuals pass away. If you have not yet seriously considered how your digital footprint will be handled when you are no longer in a position to control it, it is time to speak with an experienced estate planning attorney about making a plan for the future in this respect.

How to Construct a Digital Estate Plan

As an experienced Bergen County, NJ estate planning lawyer – including those who practice at Kaplan Law Practice, LLC– can confirm, there are many ways to construct a digital estate plan in ways that meet your unique needs and priorities. The key to a successful digital estate planning process is taking careful stock of your digital assets and accounts and thinking through how you would like each to be managed in turn.

For example, say that while you work as an administrative assistant by day, you sell handmade jewelry via an Etsy shop on the side. You also make YouTube videos to promote your wares and you have a significant social media following. Do you want the same person wrapping up your business or continuing your legacy as you want to wind down your personal social media accounts? Do you want the same person in whom you are entrusting your business interests to manage your personal e-mail accounts and your online banking? Would you want a different person assigned to these tasks if you were temporarily incapacitated by a serious injury or illness and expected to recover than you would want assigned if you unexpectedly passed away?

When constructing a digital estate plan, you need to think about every account that you access that requires a login. You need to think about any intellectual property assets, financial assets, or strictly digital assets, that will need to be distributed, closed, or otherwise managed in the event of your death or incapacitation. You will then need to think about in whom you want to entrust the authority to take the actions that you need to be taken and what instructions you want to leave for those entrusted with this authority. This is a lot to process. Know that working with an attorney to streamline this process can help.