The Hidden Estate - Your Digital Assets
Updated: Sep 28, 2022
What the heck are your digital assets and why would anyone need to know what they are?
Your Digital Assets include all the information about you that is in digital form. On your computer, your tablets, your smartphones, and in all the accounts you use online. Even your devices are digital assets. Let's look at some examples of our digital footprint. Many of us have likely used some or all of these in the past few months.
How do you...
Contact someone? Do you call, text, or emailed them? Do you use your tablet or your computer. Maybe you use a messaging app like Messenger, What's app or SnapChat. Then there are Face Time calls, Zoom Meetings, Skype messages, Telegram Messages, Google Meet Meetings, Microsoft Team Meetings. There are so many tools to account for.
Pay a bill? Is there an email notification in your inbox that prompts you to go to a website to pay the bill? Do you have a distinct login and password? Maybe you have set up auto-pay through your bank? How do you see the statement or get notified of the payment is it online?
Contact your doctor or make an appointment? Did you go to the online portal to make the appointment or use your smartphone to call the office?
Do some banking? Did you use their app or login to your bank website online.
Access information about your social security account? Did you login to your ssa.gov account?
Send information about your taxes to your accountant? Maybe you used the secure portal for uploading items to your accountant. If not, maybe you entered information to online tax software to do your own taxes.
Renew your professional license? Did you use the state website / portal to renew online.
Cancel a membership to an organization? Did you go to their site and login.
Access a picture or a video you took with your smartphone? First, you used your access method to get into the cell phone, then the cloud service where your photos are stored.
Use travel rewards or credit card points for a purchase? Go to the program website and login to your account.
Access data from your smart watch health program? How did you get that information and share it with your doctor?
Do some shopping on Amazon, eBay or your favorite store... Did you use an app a web browser? What was the login process? Do you have 2 Factor authentication set up for those accounts?
Wow, that is a lot of information isn't it. As you can see, we are being prompted into the digital world more and more each day. I see notices to move to "paperless billing" all the time. Just "click here" to set up your account.
I read the average computer user has over 192 sites they log into online. I thought that was wrong, no way I have this many logins! Well, sad to say I have even more than that. I counted 199.
Today, let's look at some of the most important digital assets to document.
Here are four simple steps to get you started with your digital documentation.
The corresponding Form numbers from the Beyond the Estate Plan Guide are listed next to each item.
Start with the devices you own. Remember that if you use 2 Factor Authentication or Multi Factor Authentication, Access to the smart phone you use as part of the multi-factor authentication part of the process will be critical. How will your family, power of attorney or personal representative be able to unlock your phone, tablet, or computer? Make a list of all the devices and how to access them. (Form #11)
Create a list of your most important accounts. These are the accounts you use every month for paying your bills. How will your family, power of attorney or your personal representative access not only your accounts, but the email accounts where your statements/invoices are delivered. If no one can access your email and the bills, how can they pay them, or notify these companies of your passing? Make sure you designate someone to take over this task if you are incapacitated or pass away. (Form #10)
Keep an up to date list of your medical / health providers. If information is needed about your health, can you or your family find them quickly and easily? Do you have a list of the names and phone numbers for them? In an emergency this can be life saving. (Form #3 & Form #4)
Document a list of the medications you take daily, weekly, monthly, and annually. Be sure to update the list any time you have a medication change.(Form #5)
Now is the time to start documenting the important details... You can do it!