The advent and expansion of the internet and social media have resulted in an explosion of digital assets, including texts, pictures, music, created properties, and more. This, in turn, has led to the creation of a whole class of new digital assets.
Unfortunately, these assets can create a wide degree of confusion upon your death, and this is why it is so important that you have a digital will through a service such as GoodTrust.
What Is a Digital Will?
This type of will is a will that specifically covers your digital assets. This means a variety of digital properties, including:
- All of your social media accounts, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more
- Music and books you have downloaded
- Any created properties – such as texts, pictures, or more – that live on your phone or your computer
- Any cloud-related properties, like Microsoft Office documents
It is important to create a will of this type because digital assets are not necessarily financial ones. They are not discrete, transferable properties. Instead, they can almost be like small pieces of yourself.
As such, creating a digital will can ensure that you execute specific control over these pieces of your legacy, determining what happens to various accounts and who specifically manages what asset.
How Can You Create This Type of Will?
First, always speak with your attorney. If you are using some sort of website to create a will, examine their guidance. While state and local laws can vary, this does not usually need to be placed into any specific format. Generally speaking, the following steps should be adequate:
- Create a complete and comprehensive inventory of your digital assets.
- Create instructions on what you want to happen to each of these assets.
- Appoint someone as the “executioner” of your digital estate. This person will be responsible for handling the execution of your wishes.
- Attach this document as an appendix to your formal will.
Keep in mind that the law regarding digital assets is constantly changing, and you need to keep abreast of these changes and alter your digital wishes accordingly. Furthermore, your wishes cannot overrule any related laws or the terms of service surrounding certain digital assets. For example, some companies make it hard to transfer certain digital assets, such as eBooks, songs, or pictures.
If this is the case, you may not be able to transfer such assets, which may revert to their original owner in the event of your death. Last, make sure to update this document on a regular basis. Digital assets, more than any other type of asset, are constantly changing. Every time you open a new account or download something on a new type of platform., you may need to update accordingly.
This is a relatively new field, and that means that it will require regular updating and monitoring. However, the advent of these types of wills is unquestionably a good thing for individuals, as it gives them greater control over their digital estate.