You may understand the basics of an estate plan: a will or trust, power of attorney, health care directive… but that was in the past. Do you know what is included in an estate plan in today’s digital age? Are you aware that you should have your digital information in your estate plan? Understanding digital estate planning is a new concept to many people – but we can help.
Much of your life is now online – from bank accounts to automatic bill payments to paychecks. A digital estate plan is a way to organize your digital property and assets and make arrangements for what should happen to your online property if you become incapacitated or after your death.
Digital assets may include:
It can be scary to think that when you’re hurt or gone, someone will have to go through and either manage or close all of this. But how are they to know what to do? Your digital estate plan will give them all the needed information.
An excellent place to start is with the digital estate planning book by Sharon Hartung called ‘Your Digital Undertaker.’ This book tells of her learning how to organize her digital life. This humorous story includes easy-to-follow scenarios and diagrams that will leave you confident enough to take on the task of digital estate planning.
It may take some time, but it is necessary to sit down and understand everything you have online. Organizing and cleaning your digital life is the first step in a digital estate plan. There are several software platforms that can help you with this. And the Apple iPhone has a Legacy Contact feature.
Your next step is finding a digital-savvy estate planning attorney to help you put this information into your estate plan. They will help you set up an In Case of Emergency document. Plus, they will ensure your assets are legally set to pass to your beneficiaries when you’re gone.
In 2016, Illinois joined the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act, explaining what will happen to your digital assets if you die without designated beneficiaries or plans.
If you have questions about ensuring who will have access to your digital files after you become incapacitated or when you die, please contact us to schedule a free consultation. To learn how an estate planning lawyer could help you. Call us for a consultation at 630-864-5835.
Areas we serve: Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake and Will counties.