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Navigating the Digital Afterlife: Our Digital Legacy Part II

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In an era dominated by technology, our lives have become intricately woven into the digital realm. From social media profiles to online accounts, our digital footprint is vast and profound. As we navigate the complexities of the digital age, understanding and preserving our digital legacy have become increasingly important. 

What is a Digital Legacy?

A digital legacy encompasses the digital assets, memories, and online presence a person leaves behind after their passing. This includes but is not limited to social media accounts, email communications, digital photos, videos, and other online accounts. Recognizing the significance of our digital presence prompts the need to contemplate how we want our online legacy to be managed.


Take Inventory of Your Digital Presence:

Start by creating a comprehensive list of your digital assets. Include social media accounts, email accounts, blogs, websites, and any other platforms where you have a digital presence.

Organize and Document Passwords:

Maintain a secure record of your digital account passwords. Store this information in a safe place or consider using a reputable password manager to ensure accessibility for your designated digital executor.

Specify Your Wishes:

Clearly outline your preferences regarding the management of your digital assets in your estate plan. Address whether you want your accounts memorialized, deleted, or passed on to specific individuals.

Designate a Digital Executor:

Appoint someone you trust as a digital executor in your estate plan. This person will be responsible for carrying out your digital wishes, managing accounts, and handling the closure or transfer of digital assets.

Social Media Legacy Options

Several social media platforms recognize the importance of addressing users' digital legacies and have implemented special features to facilitate the process:

  • Facebook:

Facebook allows users to designate a "Legacy Contact" who gains limited access to the account after the user's passing. The Legacy Contact can manage tribute posts, respond to friend requests, and update the profile picture and cover photo.

  • Google:

Google's "Inactive Account Manager" enables users to set preferences for what happens to their data after a period of inactivity. Users can choose to delete the account or share data with designated contacts.

  • Instagram:

Instagram introduced a "Memorialized Account" feature, transforming the account into a space for remembrance. Memorialized accounts prevent anyone from logging in and secure the deceased user's privacy.

  • X (formerly Twitter):

X (Twitter) accommodates requests from an estate or an immediate family member to deactivate an account in the event of the user's death.

Importance of Estate Planning in Preserving Your Digital Legacy

Integrating digital assets into your estate plan is essential for several reasons:

Protecting Privacy:

Without clear instructions, loved ones might struggle to access or manage your digital assets, potentially compromising your privacy.

Ensuring Compliance:

Different platforms have varying policies on posthumous account management. By specifying your wishes in your estate plan, you ensure compliance with these policies.

Reducing Family Burden:

Addressing your digital legacy in your estate plan alleviates the burden on your family members, allowing them to focus on grieving and healing.

Preserving Memories:

Your digital legacy holds precious memories. Estate planning ensures these memories are preserved, shared, or memorialized according to your preferences.

In the evolving landscape of our digital lives, estate planning is the key to navigating the complexities and preserving our digital legacies for generations to come. Taking proactive steps today ensures that your online presence reflects the legacy you wish to leave behind. If you need help or have questions regarding YOUR digital legacy, give us a call!

About the Author

Leslie has been practicing law since 2009 and is the host of the estate planning podcast 'Legacy Purse'. She has a long history of representing family members struggling to inherit property and/or wealth from deceased family members through the Probate Courts. Knowing how time-consuming and expensive the probate process is, Leslie takes great pride in helping her clients learn how to plan and protect their families during their lives so they can avoid the probate court process and save their loved ones that additional grief (and expense).


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