How to Handle Digital Stuff in Your Last Will

Making Wills Easy – New Summer Series 12

Should you refer to your online life in your will? I cover how to do this in this post.

(If you missed my last post, “Here are the Top Reasons to Change Your Last Will” read it here.)

You don’t want to put passwords and usernames into your will. What you put into your will becomes public information. Be careful what you identify as valuable in your will. Instead, keep an estate inventory and list of digital assets/usernames and passwords separately. See my sample that outlines how you can do this.

Like all information on this site, this is not legal advice – it is information only. If you have valuable online assets or websites, you need special legal advice and a digital executor. I do not deal with cryptocurrencies here; this is an area requiring specialized advice.

You should decide if you want anyone to have access to all your emails. There may be material you want to memorialize or treat as confidential. Instruct your executor if you have preferences. Music or photo sharing sites may have emotional – but not financial value, and may not concern you.

Online Stuff in Your Wills

Executors may be restricted in what they can do with online accounts. You may have agreed to terms of use that bind you and your executor. Prepare your executor with passwords or information about where they’re stored. Consider including:

• typical passwords
• answers to secret questions
• email accounts
• domain names
• online shopping or loyalty points
• banking and credit card login information
• access to music, intellectual property, ebooks, videos, etc.

The law is not clear about what access executors or trustees have to your accounts.

In any event, these laws are bound to keep changing. The legal system is behind the times in many areas. Technological changes occur daily and law makers cannot keep up.

Digital or intangible assets are difficult to locate. These can be stored in digital devices, online storage sites and banking or affiliate programs. Laws affecting these assets may not override service agreements. Some digital assets may have limited transfer rights (for example, 30 days from date of death) or may not be transferrable.

This area of the law is in flux. Lawyers cannot be definitive with what approach will work. Consider different treatments for sentimental and valuable digital property. If your assets are valuable, consider a digital executor to deal with valuable assets and websites.

Check out my sample digital assets memo below. It may be a good starting point.

Sample Digital Assets Memo

New to this Summer Miniseries? Start here.