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What Is a Digital Legacy?

Your estate plan likely includes a last will and testament, and perhaps other documents such as a trust, living will, or pre-arranged funeral plan. You probably spent a great deal of time considering how to distribute your tangible assets, but what about your digital legacy? Your digital legacy doesn’t include any physical property you might have in the Bay Area. Rather, it’s all the electronic information you leave behind—from your bank password to your social media accounts. Everything stored in your computer or in the cloud becomes part of your digital legacy after you pass, and your surviving loved ones probably won’t know what to do with this information unless you’ve made appropriate plans.

State laws are still trying to catch up to the concept of digital legacies, but it’s likely that your family won’t have the legal right to access your electronic information once you’ve passed. Fix this problem by checking for a legacy contact or inactive account manager feature on your accounts. This allows you to establish electronic permissions for certain people in the event of your death. You should also make a complete list of your accounts and digital properties, and place this list where your loved ones will find it after your death.

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