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Digital Estate Planning: Identifying, Cataloging, and Allocating Your Digital Assets

Published: February 29, 2024

In today's digital age, our lives are intertwined with technology more and more. From photos and videos to documents and emails, we generate an abundance of digital assets every day. Identifying and cataloging your digital assets is crucial for organization, security, and peace of mind. Creating a digital estate plan will relieve your family members and loved ones from the added stress after your death. Your family won’t have to worry about navigating an extensive probate court process if they have a written plan that outlines the passwords for your digital assets as well as how those assets should be managed.

What are Digital Assets?

Digital assets encompass a wide variety of files and data, including personal photos, important documents, financial records, creative projects, emails, and more. Managing these assets effectively involves knowing what you have, where it is located, and how to access it when needed. Almost anything you keep a digital record of is considered a digital asset and something that should be included in your digital estate plan. The following steps will guide you through the process:

1. Take Inventory: Begin by creating a comprehensive inventory of your digital assets. This includes all types of files stored across various devices and platforms. Conduct a thorough search on your computer, external hard drives, cloud storage services, email accounts, and any other digital storehouses. Once you’ve made a list of every online account in your name, write down the username and password associated with each account. You may consider using dedicated software or other tools for cataloging your digital assets. There are various options available, ranging from simple file organizers to advanced digital asset management systems. 

2. Decide on Access: Once you’ve created your master list of digital assets, you must determine how those assets will be accessed and distributed. Some assets may be directly allocated to friends and family members. For instance, you might want digital assets with monetary value to be given to your children while your online photos can be handled by your spouse. For any online accounts pertaining to your personal business, you’ll want to grant access to a chosen business partner or spouse. If you have an online e-commerce business, such as Etsy or eBay, you can decide whether you want a family member to continue running the business or if it should be shut down. 

3. Appoint a Digital Executor: The next step is appointing an executor for your digital assets. Your digital executor is the person you entrust to carry out your wishes for your digital assets. This person will have access to all your online accounts and be in charge of handling how they are distributed or destroyed. This person can be anyone you choose, but it can be helpful to appoint an attorney or friend to remove any additional stress on your grieving family. 

4. Make it Legal and Secure: The last step in creating your digital Estate Plan is to secure the information by turning it into a legally binding document. Since some states don't acknowledge a digital estate plan, you can formalize it by making a note in your Will or adding it as a codicil to your Will. For more information, see

5. Regular Maintenance: Your digital estate plan must be separate from your Will. First, after you die your Will becomes public information and you don’t want strangers having access to usernames and passwords. Secondly, you can update your digital estate plan on an annual basis as you create and delete online accounts without having to update your Will or add additional codicils. Your appointed digital executor should know where you store your digital estate plan so that it can be accessed when the time comes. 

By creating a digital Estate Plan, you are protecting your online assets from risks like identity theft, hacking, and fraud. You are also giving your family greater peace of mind and access to important information like financial documents and insurance paperwork.

The best way to ensure your digital Estate Plan is safe is by storing your information in a password-saving online database, locking it away in a file cabinet, or keeping it with your attorney. When the time comes, the people who need to access your information can do so easily. 

We appreciate you reading our blog. You can contact Raynor & D’Andrea Funeral Home at 1-800-737-0017. Or you can drop us a message here.

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