Most people are reasonably aware about what will happen to their physical property when they pass away. Either your closest living relatives or the people named in your estate plan will receive it after taxes are paid and your creditors are paid. But, what happens to your digital estate? Have you thought about it?
Many people spend a lot of time in online communities from Facebook to forums to blog comments. The accounts that we create and the friendships that we make in these communities are often as emotionally important as our physical property and real life friends. However, the law is unclear about what happens to these assets after you pass away. Can someone go in and delete your accounts? Who? Under what circumstances? Can someone use your account to let your online friends know that you passed away? In the absence of clear laws, it’s left up to the discretion of individual online companies and the people who have access to your accounts.
If you want to have a say in what happens to your digital estate after you pass away, then you should make them a part of your estate plan. It does not take much. A simple statement about your wishes is enough to give directions and decide whether your accounts will outlive you or not.