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10 key steps to secure your digital estate planning in 2024

10 key steps to secure your digital estate planning in 2024

06 March, 2024
Global Private Clients Succession Planning Private Client Private Capital

In today’s digital age, legacy planning has taken on a whole new dimension. As our lives become increasingly intertwined with the digital realm, it is essential to approach estate planning with meticulous attention to our online presence and digital assets. With the rapid evolution of technology, successfully navigating this complex landscape requires careful consideration and a strategic approach.

In this article, Leevyn Isabel, Business Development Director – Private Client, delves into the key considerations to help guide you through this crucial process. 

What are the key considerations when protecting your digital legacy? 

1. Mapping your digital estate

Begin by compiling an inventory of your digital assets, including online accounts (social media, email, banking, cryptocurrency), virtual possessions (gaming accounts, cloud storage), and subscriptions. This comprehensive list serves as a roadmap, shedding light on the extent and nature of your digital legacy.

2. Designating access stewards

With the inventory established, you can now appoint the custodians for your digital legacy. Consider drafting a will or setting up a trust or foundation, clearly outlining your wishes and empowering a trusted individual or organisation (digital executor) to manage your online estate. Granular access permissions for specific accounts can further refine control, safeguarding privacy and upholding your wishes.

3. Constructing walls & windows of privacy

Privacy in the digital realm demands a delicate balance. What information you want to keep private and which elements you want to contribute to your online memorialisation. Implement password protection for sensitive documents, consider deleting private accounts, and adjust privacy settings across various platforms. This strategic approach ensures your post-mortem privacy, allowing you to curate the digital narrative you wish to leave behind.

4. Selecting your digital champion

Choosing the right digital executor is akin to selecting a champion in the digital arena. This trusted individual or organisation assumes the critical responsibility of managing your digital assets in accordance with your wishes. Seek someone with technical expertise, reliability, empathy, and preferably, a deep understanding of digital estate planning intricacies. This custodian will ensure your digital legacy navigates the post-mortem landscape smoothly.

5. Sharing the roadmap to your digital life

Secrecy can lead to confusion and difficulty for loved ones during a sensitive time. Openly discuss your digital death plan with them, sharing the location of your digital asset inventory, passwords, and access codes. This roadmap enables them to navigate your online estate during a period of grief and uncertainty.

6. Staying ahead of the legal curve

The legal landscape surrounding digital death is constantly evolving. Stay informed about the latest legislative developments, court rulings, and legal interpretations concerning digital assets and postmortem privacy. This knowledge empowers you to adapt your plan and ensure it remains legally sound.

7. Seeking expert counsel

Don’t hesitate to consult legal professionals specialising in digital estate planning. Their expertise can navigate the complexities of the legal framework, ensuring your plan is robust and admissible. Consider their guidance as a shield against potential legal challenges that may arise after your passing.

8. Proactive planning, not reactive scrambling

Avoid the pitfalls of procrastination. Just like physical death, digital death can arrive unexpectedly. Start planning today and take small/manageable steps that gradually build to a comprehensive plan that safeguards your assets and upholds your wishes.

9. Continuous evolution, not a static plan

Your digital life, much like your physical life, is constantly changing. Regularly review and update your digital death plan as online platforms evolve, new technologies emerge, and your digital assets accumulate. This adaptability ensures your digital legacy remains a faithful reflection of your ever-evolving online presence.

10. Balancing control & openness

Striking a balance between control and accessibility is crucial. While safeguarding your privacy is paramount, consider the potential stories your digital assets might tell. Photographs, journals, and online interactions leave behind fragments of your identity. Choose who you wish to inherit these fragments, allowing them to contribute to your legacy.

How can Ocorian help?

We recognise that every client is different and that individual requirements can change both in the short and long term, as personal circumstances or, indeed, the wider world changes. Our private client team build a foundation of close and trusted relationships – making sure your needs and goals are always at the centre of what we do.

Contact our team today for all your digital estate planning queries.