What happens to your digital assets when you die?

You might have your plans in order for what happens to your physical assets when you pass away, but have you thought about your digital assets? 

Elizabeth Ayoola, a personal finance expert with NerdWallet, spoke with Scripps News Norfolk about the importance of digital estate planning in today’s age of technology. 

“Digital estate planning is basically the process of planning what happens to your digital assets when you die,” explained Ayoola. “Have paperwork that outlines what your last wishes are, and what you want done with your digital assets.”

Digital assets include everything from your iCloud files, if you have an iPhone or Mac, to the information saved on your Amazon account. 

To protect this information after you die, Ayoola said you should start by finding a digital executor that you trust and ask them if they are comfortable taking on the responsibility.

Make sure the loved one you choose has the passcodes needed to get into your devices, particularly those that may be connected to two-factor authentication for your online accounts.

Keep an updated list of passwords and tell them if you want anything specific deleted.

“Creating inventory of your online accounts and digital files is one of the best things that you can actually do to help your loved ones prepare,” Ayoola said.

She also said to be mindful of subscription services as well, so charges are not racking up when the platforms are not being used.

“It is a good idea for people to check what the laws are in their state. They can consult with a lawyer to find that out. Each digital platform has different rules [so be sure to look into that as well],” she added.

NerdWallet recommended not to include any sensitive information, like passwords, in your will since that document becomes public after you die. 

Instead, put the inventory and instructions with your other estate planning documents. They also suggested organizing your information on online storage sites like Everplans or LifeSite.

Both Apple and Android allow you to add a legacy contact to your phone, which gives someone immediate access to your data if you die.

This story was originally published by Erin Miller at Scripps News Norfolk.