What Happens to Your Digital Assets When You Die?
Increasingly, we are spending a lot more time online,
whether for business, personal, social, and/or entertainment
reasons-usually it's some combination of all of these.
Depending on your situation, you may have vast digital
content, mementos, communications, etc. These are assets
that would be in tangible form if not for technological
What happens when we die with these digital assets? Estate
and inheritance laws still haven't caught up to the growing
number of digital assets, but there are some things you can
do to incorporate these items into your estate plan.
Why You Must Put Digital Assets in Your Will or Estate Plan
You may not realize it, but you're creating a significant
digital footprint as you send email, comment on social
media, post a photo gallery and view your medical records
electronically - and that's even if you don't have a blog,
podcast or website.
But what happens to all these assets after you die? Creating
a digital estate plan is becoming increasingly important,
whether it's handled through your will or your estate's
lawyers, services that specialize in assigning digital
beneficiaries, or a complete list of your online accounts
and their passwords given to a trusted family member or
Your digital life after death
What about meeting loved ones face to face? The Hereafter
Institute offers virtual reality reconstructions, based on
photographs and videos, that let family members greet
deceased loved ones reconstructed as 3D characters, and hear
audio recordings of people recounting memories of them. "I
wanted it to be very much an experience of stepping into a
memory," says Barcia-Colombo. Once he's created a 3D model
of the deceased, he asks their family to offer a memory of
that person, from which he creates a virtual scene. "You
enter a waiting room and see a door with names of people
around it. Staring at a name selects it, and the door opens.
Your deceased loved one is on the other side of the doorway,
and you end up in a scene with that person for a brief
moment," he describes.