Thinking about digital legacy

Estate Planning

What is Digital Legacy?

Aug-20 2020

This article is provided by GoodTrust - your trusted digital legacy advisor. Learn more about GoodTrust here.

According to the Digital Legacy Association, "A digital legacy is the digital information that is available about someone following their death. Someone’s digital legacy is often shaped by interactions the person made and information that they created before they died."

Anyone who's ever been on the internet has a digital legacy. It can take many forms such as social media posts, photos, videos, websites, blogs or gaming accounts. Even browser history and online chat records are considered a part of your digital legacy as they are all pieces of information that will outlive you when you pass.

But what happens to your digital legacy, and all the information you've stored over the course of your lifetime, when you pass away?

If you don’t know, you’re not alone. Earlier this year the GoodTrust team asked 1,000+ U.S. adults this same question and 90% didn’t know either. They didn’t know what would happen to their Facebook, their Twitter or even to the thousands of photos they've taken over the years, being stored in their Google Photos account. This is an issue!

Whether you realize it or not, your digital “assets” can be just as valuable as your physical ones. These are the assets that can either live forever in your memory or be stolen at the push of a button. Every year, millions of people leave this up to chance and risk their identity being stolen, memories being lost and accounts being hacked. This doesn’t have to be the case though. Reading this article and educating yourself is the first step. Let your next step be taking action. 

Here’s a list of things you can do today to protect your digital legacy and that of your loved ones:

  1. Talk to a family member or friend you trust about being a legacy contact (i.e someone that will take control of your digital accounts after your passing)

  2. Invest in a Password Manager (Make sure to add a legacy contact/account manager that will have access to these passwords in the event that you pass)

  3. Backup all photos in Google Photos, iCloud, etc.

  4. Create a Google Inactive Account Manager

  5. Create a Facebook/Instagram Legacy Contact

  6. Create a Social Media Will

    1. Make sure to answer the following questions

      • What social media/online accounts do you have?

      • What do you want to happen to these accounts? (Delete, Memorialize, Transfer Ownership, etc.)

      • What is your log-in info? (Username and Email)

      • Who would you like to manage this account on your behalf?

  7. Talk to the GoodTrust Team!

    1. We specialize in managing digital assets and digital legacy. If you have any questions for yourself or for a loved one, we’re here for you!

Want to learn more about the fate of your digital data? Check out our "What Happens to our Digital Data After we Die? " article here!

The full article, "What is a digital legacy?" by the Digital Legacy Association, can be read here.