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Why You Need a Digital Executor

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First off, a digital executor does not replace the traditional executor you name in your will but serves in a complementary capacity. In some states, this may not be legally recognized, so it's a good idea to check with a local estate attorney to learn about the laws around digital estate planning in your state.

 

What’s a digital executor do?

It all depends on what you want done with your digital property after you’re gone, but some tasks may include:

 

  • Archiving personal files, photos, videos, and other content you've created.
  • Deleting files from your computer or other devices, or erasing devices' hard drives.
  • Maintaining certain online accounts, which may include paying for services to continue (such as web hosting services).
  • Closing certain online accounts, such as social media accounts, digital subscription services.
  • Transferring any transferrable accounts or digital assets to your heirs.
  • Collecting and transferring any money or usable credits to your heirs.
  • Transferring any income-generating items (websites, blogs, affiliate accounts, etc.) to your heirs.
  • Informing any online communities or online friends of your death.

How do I name a digital executor?

Like a traditional executor, a digital one can be appointed in your will. Most wills are essentially standard templates that allow you to "fill in the blanks" of your personal preferences. Not all "templates" include naming a digital executor as a necessary decision since this is a fairly new concept, so it's a good idea to speak with a local estate attorney about the laws in your state.

 

What if my state doesn't legally recognize digital executors?

Currently, around half the states in America don’t formally recognize digital estate plans. However, this shouldn't stop you from creating a digital estate plan and figuring out who you'd like to carry out that plan. At the very least, this will give your family a sense of what digital assets and property you have, and what you'd like done with it all.

 

Plus, legislation is starting to catch up with the times (not too long ago very few states had digital estate laws … now more than half the country has some form of it), and some states even consider digital property the same as physical property.

 

Naming a digital executor with an estate attorney or online

If you’re working with an attorney to create your will, tell her you'd like to create a digital estate plan and name a digital executor. Your attorney will help you craft the necessary language.

 

If you are using an online legal service to create a will, naming a digital executor may require a little more work. Not all online services have amended their forms to allow you to name one, so do some quick research before committing to that site.

 

Do you think digital property should be treated the same as physical property?

 

This article is provided by Everplans − a life and legacy planning company dedicated to transforming the way people get their families organized. For more information, visit: everplans.com

 

Neither Transamerica nor its agents or representatives may provide tax, investment, or legal advice. Anyone to whom this material is promoted, marketed, or recommended should consult with and rely on their own independent tax and legal advisors and financial professional regarding their particular situation and the concepts presented herein.

 

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This material was prepared for general distribution.  It is being provided for informational purposes only and should not be viewed as an investment recommendation.  If you need advice regarding your particular investment needs, contact a financial professional.

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