This isn’t the kind of topic we would normally pick to start off the day, but I’ve just come across something that makes a lot of sense – a digital will. It’s not something we usually think about or even want to consider when we’re healthy and everything is going well. But it’s prudent to understand what a digital will is and how to go about setting it up.
What is a Digital Will?
A physical will is, as you know, a legal document specifying what you intend to do with your estate. Typically, it contains details of what should be done with your monetary and physical assets so your family is taken care of and your estate is protected. But rarely do we think about what should be done with our digital assets.
What are those, you ask? Your digital assets are your social media accounts, your internet banking and mobile banking passwords, your subscriptions to online services, maybe a blog or website you started and just about anything else that you “own” online and only you have access to.
Who Needs a Digital Will?
In a word, everyone. All of us have numerous digital assets that need to be taken care of when we pass on. Maybe you’ve never even thought about this, but it is important that you have someone who can take over in your absence – a nominee.
Why Do I Need a Digital Will?
By now the reason should be apparent. A digital will protects your digital assets the way a physical will protects your monetary and physical assets. Imagine this scenario, if you will:
The day I die, my family will obviously be in shock. But once the reality of the situation sinks in, they’ll have to think about the next steps. Are they taken care of? Do they have access to my assets? Have I been clear about what goes to whom? Obviously, I wouldn’t want them to go through hoops to get what is theirs by right, correct? So I’ve drawn up a will leaving everything to my wife and son. But what about my online accounts? How will my wife take care of those? My Facebook account, my Twitter login, my digital wallet, my online banking passwords, my online medical records and so on? That’s when they’ll be grateful that I also left a digital will.
Now, put yourself in my place and think about the hassles you’d be putting your family through in their time of grief if you did not have a digital will to support your physical one. And that’s exactly the reason everyone should have a digital will.
How Do You Set Up a Digital Will?
That brings me back to how we decided to write on this topic. LastPass sent me an email yesterday about creating a digital will. I was curious, so I clicked on the link and it took me to a page where they clearly explained the need to have one, and how to set it up.
LastPass is essentially a password manager that makes it easy for you to manage all of your online assets. They now allow you to create a digital “vault” and assign access to a nominee. What should it contain? Here’s a list they’ve provided:
- Passwords to your computers
- PIN codes or passwords for your tablets and smartphones
- Voicemail PIN
- Bank PINs and account numbers
- Loyalty cards, membership numbers, and gift cards
- Medical IDs and insurance numbers
- WiFi passcodes
- Recurring subscriptions, and which payment cards they’re charged to
Personally, I think it’s fantastic that there’s such an option. I no longer have to worry about what happens to my digital properties and assets. All I need to do is make sure that all my online passwords, PINs, passcodes, subscriptions, etc. are recorded on LastPass, and then assign an Emergency Access Contact – basically, my nominee or nominees – who will then receive access to that information when certain criteria are met.
This is something you should do immediately, or at least as soon as you have a few minutes to spare. Don’t put this off. It will save your loved ones a ton of trouble down the road.
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