Planning Your Digital Estate

When most people plan out their estate, they look at financial assets, personal property, and even burial instructions. Very few people properly plan their digital estate and for a technology obsessed world, that can be an issue.

What Makes Up a Digital Estate

Your digital assets are computers, social media accounts, digital photos, scanned documents, websites, access to bank accounts and financial documents, and anything else that may compromise your online presence. Something as simple as letting someone else know the code for your voicemail can save your family a lot of unnecessary stress.


When going through your digital estate, it can be difficult to know where to begin. By taking a few simple steps, you can save your family members and heirs unnecessary stress and heartache:

  1. Inventory your Digital Assets: Inventory all hardware, software, file structures, online presence, online accounts and work information. The more detailed the inventory, the better. Every little piece of information can help your loved ones.
  2. Identify Appropriate Help: Not everyone is technologically savvy. The person you have chosen to take care of your financial assets and personal property might not be properly equipped to take care of your digital assets. An IT professional or tech savvy friend you can trust might be just the person to help.
  3. Provide for Access: Basic tech security says to never write down passwords or PIN numbers. However, if you don’t document those passwords, your loved ones may be unable to access your computers and accounts.
  4. Provide for Instructions: Our digital selves are spread far and wide, from social media accounts and blogs to financial accounts and documents. Let your heirs know exactly what is out there and what to do. If you have websites that need to be shut down or followers that need to be notified, leave detailed instructions on what to say and how to gain the access required.
  5. Give Proper Authority: If it is possible, look into ways to designate others to act on your behalf or get added to your accounts. It is always better for plans and access to be set up prior to your passing.

Making Your Wishes Known

As with all estate planning, digital estate planning is only effective when your wishes are known to others. Make sure that your heirs know where to find important information and how to access accounts. All the planning in the world means nothing if your heirs are not informed that there is a plan in place.

An Sonoma County Attorney May Be Able To Help You Plan Your Digital Estate

If you are looking for an experienced attorney familiar with planning out an estate, look no further than the office of Charles D. Stark. He can assist you in making sure that your wishes are reflected in your estate plan and that your future is secure in going forward. Contact us at (707) 527-9900 or visit us online.

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