Estate planning has changed over the years and now should include your digital assets and reference to them should be included in your will. Remember not to include too many details (e.g. passwords) as after your death, your will becomes a public document.
What is a digital asset? It is any information about you or created by you that exists in electronic form. This information can be stored in:
- hardware (computers, tablets, smart phones, hard drives, flash drives,...)
- cloud (stored on your devices or in the cloud)
- social media accounts
- Banking (accounts and credit cards)
These assets include both personal and business ones.
What steps do you need to take?
- The first step is to download this form to use as a guide to document all of your digital assets.
- Then make a list that includes how to access them (where they are as well as passwords). Remember this list changes, so it will need to be updated regularly.
- Decide what you want done with each item. Should it be disabled (e.g. Facebook); should the assets be distributed (e.g. family photos and the value in your Tim Hortons card); should someone else have access (e.g. bank accounts).
- Decide who you want to handle these assets on your behalf.
- Talk to your lawyer. Remember to include instructions in case you are unable to take care of them during your lifetime as well as after your death.
- Store the information in a secure place.
- Finally - this information should be reviewed annually as it changes more frequently than physical assets (at least mine do).
Good luck with your planning.