Digital Estate Planning - what is it and what do you need to know?

Trusts and Estates

We are all living our lives online, whether it be social media or online shopping. What happens to your online accounts and digital devices when you die? How do you deal with your "digital legacy".

Our lives have evolved to a point where we are heavily reliant on our online presence. From payment of household expenses to keeping in contact with our family and friends to shopping. We are living online. What happens to your online accounts and digital devices when you die? Who knows how to access your digital life?

There is no official definition for “digital estate” or “digital legacy”. It is a relatively new concept but something that is gaining more and more attention as problems arise when a loved one dies without a plan in place dealing with this aspect of their lives. A “digital estate” or “digital legacy” is essentially the online presence that a person creates during his or her lifetime.

We are finding an increasing problem with the lack of access to and information about digital estates when a loved one passes. It is common for spouses, partners, relatives and friends to find themselves unable to access a deceased’s digital devices, online accounts and information, or to obtain key information about services that affect those left behind.

It is common for household utilities to be held in the name of one person with accounts emailed to that person each month. Unless you are an authorised person to an account, it is very difficult to access information. This can lead to overdue accounts, services being ceased, and accounts being locked down; all during an already emotional and stressful time.

Don’t let this happen to you. We have advice and tips to assist in managing and dealing with your “digital estate” or “digital legacy” that can alleviate this unnecessary anxiety and stress on your family and loved ones.  Please contact Aimee Edwards or Maria Young in our Estates Team if you need more information or advice.

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Copyright © Cavell Leitch. All rights reserved. Redistribution is only permitted with express written permission. For enquiries please contact us. This article by its nature cannot be comprehensive and cannot be relied on by clients as advice. It is provided to assist clients to identify legal issues on which they should seek legal advice. Please consult the professional staff of Cavell Leitch for advice specific to your situation.