The Heartache of Digital Assets Left Behind

The Heartache of Digital Assets Left Behind Rachel Donnelly March 22, 2024
The Heartache of Digital Assets Left Behind

Each day as an after loss consultant, I encounter situations that tug at my heartstrings. Entering this field, I braced myself for the emotional toll. What I hadn’t anticipated was how deeply it would affect me when I faced situations that were entirely preventable—had only the person known there was something to prevent.

The often overlooked issue of being locked out of our loved one’s lives after they’re gone doesn’t get nearly enough spotlight, nor do people typically know how to sidestep it. As we increasingly live our lives online, the fate of our digital selves after we’re gone seldom crosses our minds.

Take my client John, for example. He and his wife, Margaret, were the adventurous types, living life to the fullest through their travels. John’s a professional photographer, and together, they captured countless memories. But tragedy struck unexpectedly when Margaret passed away, leaving John without access to her digital life—her phone, iCloud, email accounts, and all those precious memories stored digitally. They were in the process of formalizing their wills, but life, as it often does, had other plans.

John’s story isn’t unique, but it’s a stark reminder of the complex web of digital asset management we leave behind. Whether it’s a locked phone, an inaccessible cloud storage, or unsigned wills, the aftermath can be a daunting labyrinth for our loved ones.

But it doesn’t have to be this way.

There are steps that you can take today that will save you time, energy, and a whole lot of stress tomorrow. We’ve taken it upon ourselves to create a brief roadmap to spring cleaning your digital legacy, making it as tidy and accessible as your physical one. Keep reading for a few steps you can take to prepare your digital legacy.

Create a Comprehensive Inventory

List every digital asset. Think broader than social media—include email accounts, subscription services, digital storage, and more. Remember, while platforms may host your digital life, the actual assets (like money in online banking accounts) require different considerations.

Leverage Online Planning Tools

Services like Apple’s Legacy Contact and Google’s Inactive Account Manager are your friends. They ensure your digital assets don’t get locked away forever.

Secure & Store Your Information

Document everything. Where is it? How can one access it? Consider a secure, accessible solution like a password manager to organize your logins or a digital vault for critical documents.

Consult an Estate Planning Attorney

Make sure your agent, executor or trustee has the power to either manage or pass on the assets as they were digital property just as you would a regular bank account.

Feeling overwhelmed? I’ve got just the thing. Starting in April, I’m hosting a Digital Legacy Mastery Workshop. This workshop is your guide through the maze of digital estate planning, equipping you with the knowledge and tools to safeguard your digital footprint.

Here’s what you can expect…

Pre-Session (April 26, 2024): A primer on digital estate planning.

Session 1 (May 3, 2024): Dive deep into digital asset inventory and security.

Session 2 (May 17, 2024): Master password management and personal data protection.Make sure your executor has the power to either manage or pass on the assets as they were digital property just as you would a regular bank account

Session 3 (May 31, 2024): Finalize your digital estate plan with clear instructions for your loved ones.

Special Offer

Register by April 8 and save $50! Don’t miss this chance to secure your digital legacy and ease the burden on your loved ones.

Remember: By proactively organizing your digital assets now, you help guarantee their smooth accessibility to your loved ones or executor at the crucial time, ensuring they are seamlessly incorporated into your estate plan.