Getting Your Affars in Order

Digital Estate Planning: Safeguarding Your Virtual Assets and Online Legacy

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In today’s technologically-driven world, our digital presence plays an increasingly significant role in our lives, influencing our financial stability, social connections, and personal identity. As we take steps to get our affairs in order and prepare for our eventual passing, the protection and preservation of our virtual assets become an essential aspect of comprehensive estate planning. Digital estate planning encompasses the management of your digital assets, online accounts, and digital legacies, ensuring that your loved ones can access relevant information and resources in accordance with your wishes.

In this article, we will explore the complexities of digital estate planning and guide how to safeguard and organize your virtual assets, ranging from online banking and cryptocurrency accounts to social media profiles and personal websites. By engaging in a thoughtful approach to digital estate planning, you can ensure that your virtual assets are effectively managed and utilized for the benefit of your loved ones in the future.

As you delve into the world of digital estate planning, remember that your online presence constitutes an important extension of your life and legacy. By proactively addressing the management of your digital assets, you not only contribute to the overall coherence and comprehensiveness of your estate plan but also facilitate the navigation of your virtual world for your loved ones and ultimately preserve your digital legacy after your passing.

Digital Estate Planning: Safeguarding Your Virtual Assets and Online Legacy

Identifying and Categorizing Your Digital Assets

1. Financial Assets: Online banking, investment and retirement accounts, digital wallets, and cryptocurrencies all fall under the category of digital financial assets. Ensuring that your loved ones have access to these resources is crucial to optimizing the financial elements of your estate plan.

2. Digital Properties: Domain names, blogs, websites, and any eCommerce businesses you own are valuable digital assets that may require proper management, maintenance, or liquidation upon your passing.

3. Social Media Accounts: Your online presence on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram holds sentimental value for your loved ones and may hold valuable information as well, making it essential to address these accounts as part of your digital estate plan.

4. Personal Data: Digital files, photos, videos, emails, and documents stored on your computer, cloud storage, or external hard drives are an essential part of your digital footprint and deserve consideration in preserving your digital legacy.

Designating a Digital Executor

1. Role of the Digital Executor: The digital executor’s primary responsibility is to manage and distribute your digital assets according to your wishes, which may include closing accounts, transferring assets, and managing or liquidating digital properties.

2. Selecting a Trusted Individual: Choose a trustworthy, tech-savvy individual with a strong understanding of digital platforms and processes, and ensure they are willing to assume the role of your digital executor.

3. Coordinating with Your Regular Executor: Encourage communication between your digital executor and the executor of your general estate to ensure that all aspects of your estate plan are coordinated effectively.

4. Legal Requirements: Verify legal procedures and requirements specific to your province regarding the appointment of a digital executor, as the role and regulations may vary between jurisdictions.

Providing Access and Instructions for Your Digital Assets

1. Password and Access Information: Create a comprehensive and secure inventory of your usernames, passwords, account numbers, and security questions for your digital accounts.

2. Storage and Security: Ensure that your inventory of access information is securely stored, either in a protected digital format, like an encrypted password manager, or a physical format, like a safe deposit box.

3. Regular Updates: Periodically review your digital asset inventory to account for any new accounts, changes in login information, or updates to your digital assets’ status.

4. Care Instructions: Provide detailed instructions to your digital executor regarding the preferred management, distribution, or deletion of your digital assets, taking into consideration any specific desires or requirements you hold for each account or asset.

Understanding Company Policies and Legal Implications

1. Terms of Service Agreements: Familiarize yourself with the terms of service agreements and policies for each digital platform you use, as they will dictate your rights and the options available to your digital executor.

2. Privacy and Access Laws: Recognize that privacy and access laws in Canada may limit your executor’s ability to access and manage your digital accounts. Consult with a legal professional to understand the implications of these laws on your digital estate plan.

3. Power of Attorney: Discuss with an estate planning attorney the possibility of including digital assets under your power of attorney document, ensuring legal authorization for your designated representative to manage your digital affairs if you become incapacitated.


Comprehensive estate planning involves not only the management of your physical and financial assets but also the protection and preservation of your digital legacy. With the growing significance of our virtual lives, the thoughtful organization and management of your digital assets are of paramount importance to ensure the seamless transmission of your online presence to your loved ones.

By engaging in digital estate planning, you can alleviate potential burdens on your loved ones, safeguard sensitive information, and preserve the integrity of your digital footprint for future generations. Embrace your online legacy with Getting Your Affairs in Order, and take proactive steps towards securing your virtual assets as a vital component of your comprehensive estate plan.

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