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3 Steps to Safeguard and Manage Digital Accounts and Assets

person at laptop managing digital accounts and assets

There can be much overlap between your digital accounts and your financial assets, so we’re exploring steps you can take to better manage your digital presence.

Author: Kris Draper

In the ever-expanding digital landscape, safeguarding your digital assets has become a pressing priority. As financial advisors, we recognize the importance of proactive measures to protect your legacy — digital and otherwise. Below, we outline essential steps you can take to navigate the digital maze and ensure the security of your online presence.

1: How to Catalog Your Digital Footprint

The first step in digital estate planning is to catalog your digital footprint comprehensively. Begin by compiling a thorough inventory of your online accounts and assets. From social media profiles to financial accounts, leave no digital stone unturned. Consider using a password manager to centralize and organize your login credentials securely.

Next, document crucial information and ensure that it is kept up-to-date and stored in a secure location. This can include info, such as 

  • Usernames
  • Passwords
  • Security questions for each account. 

Additionally, include any instructions or directives for managing these accounts in the event of incapacity or passing. By creating a detailed catalog of your digital assets, you empower your loved ones to navigate your digital legacy with ease.

2: Granting Permission and Access of Your Digital Assets

In tandem with cataloging your digital assets, it is essential to address the legal and regulatory aspects of digital inheritance. Many states have stringent privacy laws in place, making unauthorized access to online accounts a legal gray area. To mitigate potential legal complications, consider drafting legal documents granting explicit permission for access to your digital assets.

You may consider working with legal professionals to create a digital estate plan that includes directives for accessing and managing your online accounts. This may involve drafting a digital power of attorney or including specific provisions in your will or trust documents. By obtaining legal authorization for digital access, you provide a clear roadmap for your loved ones to follow, minimizing legal obstacles and ensuring compliance with privacy regulations.

3: Secure Storage and Accessibility When Managing Digital Accounts and Assets

The efficacy of your digital estate plan hinges on its existence, accessibility, and security. Explore secure storage options for housing your digital directives and login credentials. Invest in a fireproof safe/folder or a digital vault with robust encryption to protect sensitive information from unauthorized access.

Additionally, establish protocols for granting access to your digital estate plan in times of need. Designate trusted individuals, such as family members or fiduciaries, to oversee the management of your digital assets. Provide clear instructions on how to access the stored information and update them regularly to reflect any changes or additions to your digital inventory.

Integrate digital asset maintenance into your financial planning

Safeguarding and managing digital accounts and assets requires proactive planning and meticulous attention to detail. By cataloging your digital footprint, granting permission for access, and securing storage, you can navigate the complexities of digital estate planning with confidence. 

As financial advisors, we understand the overlap between your digital accounts and your financial assets. We are here to offer our perspective on the process and help ensure that your digital legacy remains protected for generations to come.

Northern Lights Advisors is a fiduciary, fee-only, Registered Investment Advisor (RIA) firm based in Seattle, Washington. The information in this article is not intended as tax, accounting, or legal advice. Read the full disclaimer here.