Create a Plan to Pass on Your Personal Digital Data

If you were to die tomorrow, could someone access all of your digital assets? This includes your photos, videos, documents, websites, domains, and many other items along with passwords to access all of your devices and online services.  Creating a digital estate planning document that provides this information is critical. This article provides good comprehensive information on the process. I’ve created a digital estate planning document template (see below) which can be used to get started on creating a plan of your own.

A digital estate planning document should be comprehensive enough to include all of your computers, mobile devices, local files, as well as all online services and assets stored in the cloud. You may also have dependencies that will need to be identified so they can be transferred. For instance any website and domains expenses tied to a credit card. Online access to financial accounts as well as dedicated online accounts like Paypal and Bitcoin accounts should also be listed.

While I plan on passing on all of my belongings to my family, there may be some technical aspects to securing my digital assets that they will need help with. This is where I have assigned a Digital Executor to help with the process. A digital executor should have the technical background to help with accessing and managing digital assets. Some examples are managing the transfer of websites and domain names, accessing the data on a computer and NAS, and help with access to passwords and two factor authentication.

The document should also list the wishes for all of your social media accounts. Some services provide ways to prepare. Facebook allows you to designate a legacy contact to manage your account after you die. Google has the inactive account manager option to provide a way to grant access to your account after you’re gone.

This document is just one step in the planning of your digital legacy. I feel one key aspect to planning is setting up a password management service. Lastpass and 1Password are good servies. You can learn more about other aspects to planning and find many more resources on my digital legacy page.

Here’s the Digital Estate Planning Google Document Template. If you have any ideas for additions or ways to improve it I’d love to hear them in the comments or you can contact me. I will update this document with improvements in the future.

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