The digitalization of the world has accelerated in the past few years because of the pandemic. Online purchases, meetings, social media, virtual worlds, and subscriptions, all saw unprecedented growth. Now it is more important than ever to understand that your digital legacy is crucial to your Estate and loved ones because it contains your footprint, information, and memories.
So what falls under your digital legacy? It’s everything you have ever created, purchased, or done online. Bills, contracts, and now wills (Bill 21 in BC is important to know because it’s a game-changer), are good examples of documents that need to be stored in a digital, centralized location. However, your digital legacy goes beyond that, it includes social profiles, rewards, subscriptions, bank accounts and emails.
Your digital legacy needs to be securely shared with others because, well, life is unpredictable. Most online businesses and platforms do not have a legacy plan in place, which can leave loved ones and Executors without access to important information.
Another reason to be preoccupied with the safety of your digital presence is online fraud. Criminals are always trying to obtain information to successfully impersonate someone and now it is easier than ever to do it. Even if the person is deceased, as long as accounts are active, there is nothing to prevent them from withdrawing funds, making purchases, and even placing substantial mortgages against a property.
Since the number of people purchasing and negotiating Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is increasing, this category of assets deserves attention. To access them, users need a regular password and a crypto key. If this crypto key is lost, the cryptocurrency inside the account will be blocked forever. The data firm Chainalysis claims that of the existing 18.5 million Bitcoin, around 20% appear to be in lost or otherwise stranded wallets.
In summary, if you are preparing your Estate you need to let your Executor and your loved ones know where all the information related to your digital legacy is kept. The best way to do it is to enter that information, including passwords when necessary, in a safe digital location. Platforms such as ReadyWhen are a great option since they offer a secure way to store and share your digital legacy; including cryptocurrencies.
We will all need an Executor one day. What are you doing to prepare?
David E. Edey is the author of “Executor Help – How to Settle an Estate Pick an Executor and Avoid Family Fights”