Have a plan for your digital assets after death

Posted at 4:42 PM, May 06, 2014
and last updated 2014-05-06 21:23:06-04

What do you want to happen to your digital accounts after you die?

It's not something a lot of us plan for, but we should.

If we don't prepare for the possibility, we could be leaving our grieving family members with a big headache.

"A digital asset is essentially... an account that someone is going to set up like an email account or a social media fact, you can even say a digital asset could be something like someone's frequent flyer miles or an iTunes account," said Walsh College Professor Daniel Hoops.

Hoops has a background in wills and trusts. He says that people should have a plan for their virtual life after they die.

"You don't want to leave your legacy just kind of floating around in the wind, because if you do that, it's going to be lost in cyberspace," said Hoops.

So, how should you protect yourself? Well, under Michigan law the trustee of your trust would be allowed to access your accounts in the invent of your death. But, if you read those terms of service we're so quick to accept, for some email and other social media sites, they say no one but you can access the account.

"When any of us click 'I accept' to those terms of service, we're signing a binding contract," said Hoops. 

Talk about a conundrum! While there is no perfect answer, at least not yet. Hoops tells 7 Action News that people in the past have gone about it the sneaky and simple way.

It's called grab a piece of paper, write down all of your passwords and accounts and make sure it's somewhere your family can find it if they need to. ​.

"It's best to take things into your own control and make the decisions the way you want them to be made," said Hoops.