Are your Digital Affairs in Order?

Death is a taboo subject in America and because of this, too often the passing of a loved one comes with the burden of getting their affairs in order. I watched as my parents spent months sorting the affairs of my aunt and uncle – who had no children to take up the task. To embrace the reality of death is to be proactive about your legacy. Getting a lawyer for financial matters is one important step. But what happens with your digital legacy?

In our increasingly digital world, it’s essential to ensure that your digital affairs are in order, just like your physical ones. From passwords to online accounts and digital assets, here’s a comprehensive, 8-step guide to help you manage and organize your digital life and afterlife. If you feel overwhelmed by the prospect, please get in touch to see how I can support you!

1. Password Management:

One of the first steps in organizing your digital affairs is to manage your passwords effectively. Consider using a password manager to store and organize your passwords securely. Password managers can generate strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts and help you access them easily. Depending on the password manager, you can assign a legacy contact. Recommended managers include 1Password (starting at 2.99/mo), LastPass (starting at $3/mo), and Bitwarden (starting at $4/mo) as of April 2024.

2. Online Accounts:

Take an inventory of all your online accounts, including social media, email, banking, and shopping accounts. Consider which accounts are essential and which ones can be closed or consolidated. Make a list of these accounts, including the associated usernames and passwords, and store it securely. Facebook allows a legacy contact for your main account. Apple does, too.

3. Digital Assets:

Digital assets include photos, videos, documents, and other files stored on your devices or in the cloud. Organize these assets into folders and consider backing them up regularly to prevent loss. You may also want to consider how these assets will be managed or passed on in the event of your death.

4. Digital Estate Planning:

Just like traditional estate planning, it’s crucial to plan for the management and distribution of your digital assets after your death. Consider appointing a digital executor who can manage your digital affairs according to your wishes. You may also want to include instructions for how to access and distribute your digital assets in your will or estate plan.

5. Data Privacy and Security:

Protecting your digital information is essential. Use strong, unique passwords for each of your accounts, enable two-factor authentication where available, and be cautious of phishing attempts. Consider using encryption tools to protect sensitive information.

6. Social Media and Online Presence:

Review your social media accounts and adjust your privacy settings to control who can see your posts and information. Consider what you want to happen to your social media accounts after your death and include instructions in your digital estate plan.

7. Digital Legacy:

Consider what you want your digital legacy to be. Do you want to leave behind a digital footprint that reflects your values and memories? Consider creating a digital archive of important photos, videos, and documents that can be passed down to future generations.

8. Regular Maintenance:

Finally, regular maintenance of your digital affairs is crucial. Periodically review and update your passwords, review your online accounts, and back up your digital assets regularly. This will help ensure that your digital affairs are always in order and easily accessible when you need them.

Managing your digital affairs is just as important as managing your physical ones. By following these steps and staying organized, you can ensure that your digital life is secure, organized, and prepared for the future. And if you need any support, don’t hesitate to reach out via the contact page.