Who gets the keys to digital estate?

You may not own cryptocurrency or nonfungible tokens. You may not have a big Instagram following or run an online business. But if you do almost anything online, you probably have digital assets – electronic records that you own, control or license. Failing to make arrangements for those assets while you’re alive could cause unnecessary costs, stress and heartache to those you leave behind.

Online photo and video collections could be lost forever. Heirs could also be locked out of electronic records with monetary value, such as cryptocurrency and frequent flyer miles. Email and social media accounts could be hacked. Even basic tasks, such as paying bills online or canceling online subscriptions, may be difficult or impossible if you haven’t made arrangements.

“There would be no way for someone to know how I pay bills unless they could access my online account and my emails,” says Abby Schneiderman, co-founder of Everplans, a site for creating end-of-life plans and storing documents. “And if it takes you a while to access these accounts, you’re going to realize afterwards, ‘Well, we’ve lost thousands of dollars on services we don’t use or don’t need anymore, because we can’t access them.’”

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