Numerous surveys conducted by widely-respected sources confirm that as few as one out of every three Americans has an estate plan in place. Therefore, if you’re either thinking about drafting an estate plan for the first time or you already have one in place, you’re ahead of the curve when it comes to fellow adults in the U.S.
Yet, it is worth noting that even fewer than one out of every three American adults have a digital estate plan in place. This estate planning resource has only evolved within the past several years. As a result, many adults who drafted estate plans earlier in life may not yet be aware that their current plans need to be updated in this way.
What is digital estate planning?
Digital estate planning allows the creator of a will to dictate the terms upon which their “digital footprint” will be managed in the event of their death or incapacitation. It’s fair to assume that many people don’t necessarily want their spouse, children, parents or other loved ones poking around in their email, social media accounts, bank accounts and other digital assets when they’re gone. Digital estate planning allows these people to make their wishes clearly known so that they’ll ultimately be respected.
Until the need for digital estate planning is reported on more broadly and extensively, it is likely that many Americans will unintentionally “leave behind a digital mess” when they pass away. Increasing awareness of this estate planning need is, therefore, a genuinely important challenge.
Adults who may otherwise be unaware that they need an estate plan at all could potentially be motivated to make this effort once they understand the consequential nature of digital estate planning. Similarly, adults who approached estate planning proactively many years ago may be inspired to update their current plans once they’ve been alerted to this additional need.