What Is A Digital Executor?

Business, Contracts, Estate Planning

If you find yourself wondering what is a digital executor, it is probably a good time to consult with an experienced Texas estate planning attorney.

It is 2021, and when we die, we are very likely to leave behind a number of unattended digital happenings that can range from social media accounts to subscriptions and much more. Ultimately, these online entities may contain financial and other kinds of private information, and some of them are likely to involve an ongoing subscription rate. In other words, it is a good idea to deal with these loose ends when executing one’s estate, but it can be very difficult to do without assigning a digital executor. Learn more about what a digital executor is by contacting an experienced estate planning attorney at Ibekwe Law, PLLC in Texas a call at 512-505-2753 today.

Your Digital Executor

You obviously want your digital executor to know his or her way around the internet and to be capable of executing a number of important –and sometimes sensitive – tasks, which means he or she will need access to your suite of online information. Because the laws and online protocols for allowing digital executors access to decedent’s online accounts and subscriptions are evolving, it is important to provide your digital executive with a workaround in the form of a complete list of your online dealings –along with your usernames and passwords. This is a good way to help ensure that the execution of your digital estate proceeds smoothly rather than in fits and starts.

Your Digital Assets

Your digital estate likely consists of wide-ranging assets that can include all of the following:

  • Your email accounts
  • Your social media accounts, including Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, and Twitter
  • Your digital photo, video, and music archives
  • Your online banking accounts and other online financial tools
  • Your frequent flyer programs and other online reward accounts
  • Your online bill paying
  • Cryptocurrency accounts
  • Any blogs or websites you host
  • Your online dating accounts, which often have subscription charges associated

These represent the basics, but you may also have many others. Do not wait until it is too late to ask the question –what is a digital executor?– start thinking about organizing your digital assets today.

Addressing the Matter of a Digital Executor in Your Last Will and Testament

As mentioned, the laws regarding digital access are new –and somewhat wobbly at the moment– which means that addressing the matter of a digital executor in your Last Will and Testament (will) may or may not get the job done. Supplying the person you would like to take on this task with the exact information he or she needs can help you bypass this particular dilemma, but what if you would prefer that no one is allowed access to some or all of your private online accounts in the event you die before handling the matter? Many states are moving closer to allowing executors access to this private information –in a sort of blanket approach. If you seek greater privacy protections than this, it is a very good idea to discuss your concerns with one of the dedicated estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC in Texas.

Leaving Specific Instructions

If you have specific requirements regarding your digital assets –or simply want them to be properly dispensed with when the time comes– the best thing you can do is to leave the person you have asked to be your digital executor with specific instructions that outline your requests. If you do have private information that you would like deleted sight unseen, include this request in your detailed list of instructions. It is important to point out, however, that you should choose your digital executor with care –making sure that you trust him or her to follow your instructions carefully. The fact is that some people simply cannot resist the allure of a secret (no matter how loyal and reliable they otherwise are).

Digital Accounts that Also Have a Brick-and-Mortar Component

Some accounts –even if you interact with them solely online– also have a non-digital component. Banks and insurance companies are a good example. While you may not have been inside a branch of your bank in a decade and may have purchased your insurance policy online –if it has a brick-and-mortar presence– the traditional executor of your estate will only be able to interact with these accounts and shut them down through the actual entity. In other words, he or she will not be granted online access. While your digital executor might be able to close the accounts, this is typically a job left to an estate’s traditional executor. Further, with privacy requirements skyrocketing for online activities –as witnessed by the identification codes that must be increasingly texted to our phones– there is no guarantee that your digital executor –armed with your usernames and passwords– will be able to accomplish the task.

By Way of Example

To better understand the importance of having a digital executor, let’s consider an example. Most of us have Facebook profiles and accounts. If you die with thousands of friends and a thriving account with many posts and pictures, what happens next? Some people like to keep these accounts active –allowing friends and loved ones to leave moving tributes in the account holder’s honor. There is, however, also a darker side to this. For one, Facebook will continue to process your account through its matching algorithms and will continue to recommend that people friend you post-mortem. Further, if no one has your Facebook login information, it could be a moot point. Your loved ones can contact Facebook, but the jury is still out on what Facebook is going to do about it.

Now Is a Good Time to Consult with an Experienced Texas Estate Planning Attorney

Tackling the question of what is a digital executor is an important task, and the trusted estate planning attorneys at Ibekwe Law, PLLC can help. Your digital assets are unique to you, and your digital-executor needs are similarly unique. Allow us to help you address your digital estate planning needs with confidence –balancing streamlined access with your privacy concerns. To learn more about how we can help you, please do not wait to contact or call us at 512-505-2753 today.