Digital Estate Planning – Protect your data, your digital assets and digital legacy by making a will
Recently at the 3XE Data, Mobile & Social Media Marketing Conference in Dublin there was a large emphasis on the growth and development of artificial intelligence (AI), this got us thinking about how your digital estate, assets and legacy now, more than ever, should play a big role when you are making a will. This fashioned the term ‘digital estate planning’ which is a relatively new term but we anticipate digital estate planning will become a big focal point for people making their wills as our technology grows ever greater.
It is clear that the abundance of data now available for analysis will allow AI play a major role in our lives in the future. Your digital data, search history, likes, dislikes etc. will contribute to this development. Although there are many benefits to be gained from the development of AI, such as early diagnosis of medical conditions, there is a concern among online users as regards the use of their personal data. Personal digital data is a valuable asset that requires protection.
Do I need to consider digital estate planning when making a will?
Data protection legislation facilitates the protection of your personal digital data. Most people have some form of digital estate, even if it just consists of a Facebook account! Many people handle their financial and personal affairs online and upon death if these account details are not organised into one location it can lead to difficulty when managing and distributing the deceased’s estate. This is where digital estate planning comes into play. In order for the executors of your will to smoothly handle your estate, you will need to provide them with access to your digital estate.
What are the benefits of a digital estate plan?
When making a will it is possible to appoint a digital executor to deal with your digital assets when you pass away. This person can be furnished, upon your death, with all user details and passwords for your accounts allowing them access to vital information from your online accounts which may be of huge benefit when handling your estate. Your digital estate plan can be stored with your last will and testament.
Making a will and including a digital estate plan can also deal with the issue of who should inherit your digit assets. Digital assets can be very valuable, such as online music libraries, or of great sentimental value, such as an online photograph collection.
These assets are often forgotten when making a will. When you sit with a will and probate solicitor to make your will we would urge you to consider the appointment of a digital estate plan and digital executor and encourage you to include your wishes for your digital assets.