Talking about death is a very morbid topic, so let’s keep it short and sweet. When you pass away, your family and friends will undoubtedly be devastated. When that day comes, you want to leave them with as little decision-making responsibilities as possible. We all thus have a responsibility to make sure we leave all our affairs in order.

You probably have a will describing what should happen to your money, your dogs and that antique rocking chair you inherited from grandpa. But what about your digital estate?

But firstly, what is your digital estate? Like it or not, we all have a digital doppelganger living in some cloud – from Facebook, Twitter to your Kindle and Apple Music Store, and whatever other online platform you are subscribed to. When you pass on, you don’t want your digital soul to be haunting those you love.

As depressing as it might be, you have to start preparing a document that will explain to your loved ones what they should do with your digital assets ones you are gone.

Here are the steps you should take to get your digital house in order:

Step 1: Take stock of your online assets

Make a list of all the online accounts that you have as well as the login information. Preferably, you don’t want to keep all of this information in one place. Perhaps write your passwords and usernames on two separate documents that you keep in two different places.

Make sure you keep these documents in a very save place so as to avoid fraud and identity theft – crimes both the living and the dead can fall victim to.)

Here are some accounts that you need to remember when creating your digital assets list:

  • Social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, etc.)
  • Any cloud storage services you might be using (e.g. Dropbox)
  • Email accounts
  • Apps you are using
  • Online gaming accounts
  • Online shopping accounts (e.g. Groupon, Takealot, etc.)
  • Streaming services that you might be using
  • Online dating sites where you have a profile
  • Online trading sites (e.g. Gumtree, eBay, etc.)
  • Blogs or websites that you own
  • Your Kindle / e-Reader accounts
  • Passcodes for any devices you have, like computers, cell phones and tablets.

Digital assets

Step 2: Name your Digital Executor

This person will handle your digital estate once you have passed away. Make sure it is someone who knows what to do with the information, someone you trust and someone who will be able to cope with the responsibility.

Step 3: Write down instructions to explain how your digital estate should be handled.

In your digital estate plan, you should clearly define what should happen to all your different accounts and profiles.

Here are some questions that you might want to ask yourself:

  • Which accounts / profiles should be closed down?
  • Do you want your Facebook profile to be taken down or should it remain as a form of memorial?
  • Should your Instagram photos be saved or printed and given to someone?
  • Do you want your YouTube videos to be removed?
  • Should someone take over the writing of your blog?
  • Do you have online shopping accounts that should be closed?
  • Do you have important work that is stored in the cloud or on some devices? And what should happen to it?
  • Do you have a final message for your friends and family that you want posted on Facebook after you’re gone? A final YouTube video or blog post?

The more we live online and the more connected we become, the more important your digital estate planning will become.

When you’re done getting your affairs in order, lift your spirits with these 15 songs to cheer you up.

About The Author

Enrique Grobbelaar

Enrique is the eternal entrepreneur: his first venture was selling off his parents’ household goods at bargain prices to their neighbours at age seven. All other endeavours thus far have been entirely above board.

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