Digital Will: Protect Your Online Life After Death

Digital Will DefinitionDigital Will Definition

Key Takeaways

  • A digital will outlines how you want your online accounts, assets, and presence handled after your death.
  • A digital will should include a detailed inventory of your digital assets with instructions for each.
  • Appointing a trustworthy and tech-savvy digital executor is crucial.
  • A digital will protects your digital legacy, provides access for loved ones, and prevents the loss of valuable assets.
  • Consult with an estate planning attorney to ensure your digital will is legally valid and complements your overall estate plan.

What Is A Digital Will?

A Digital Will is a document that outlines how your digital assets should be managed and distributed upon your death. Creating a Digital Will is crucial as our lives become more digital. Without clear instructions on handling these assets, loved ones may struggle to access important information or sentimental items or be unaware of valuable assets altogether.

What Should Be Included in a Digital Will?

Creating a Digital Will requires careful consideration of what digital assets you own and how you wish them to be handled after your passing. Here's a list of items to include:

Inventory of Digital Assets

This is a detailed list of all your digital assets, which can be categorized as follows:

  • Social Media Accounts: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., including instructions on whether to memorialize, deactivate, or delete these accounts.
  • Email Accounts: Information about your email accounts and what should be done with them.
  • Online Banking and Financial Accounts include PayPal, brokerage accounts, and other financial platforms.
  • Cryptocurrency and Digital Wallets: Details on cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and how to access them.
  • Digital Collections: Music, ebooks, family photos, and videos stored online or in cloud storage.
  • Online Shopping Accounts: Amazon, eBay, and other user licenses, including loyalty programs and seller accounts.
  • Subscription Services and Memberships: Netflix, Spotify, memberships to online platforms, and how to handle them.
  • Websites and Blogs: URLs, hosting information, content management system logins, and instructions for future management.
  • Digital Business Assets: If you own an online business, include details about its operation and management.
  • Online Gaming Accounts: Information on valuable or sentimental accounts and how they should be handled.
  • Cloud Storage Accounts: Dropbox, Google Drive, and others, specifying which personal documents, electronic records, and digital files to keep, share, or delete.

Digital Executor

  • Appointment of a Digital Executor: Choose someone trustworthy to manage your digital assets according to your wishes. This could be the same person as your estate executor or someone else.
  • Authority and Instructions: Provide clear instructions and necessary legal authority for your digital executor to act on behalf of your digital estate.

Access Information

  • Passwords and Access Codes: Consider using a password manager to store access information and provide instructions on how your digital executor can gain access to accounts.
  • Security Questions and Backup Codes: Include any additional information needed to bypass account security measures.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

  • Compliance with Terms of Service: Be aware of each platform's terms of service, especially regarding account ownership and posthumous access.
  • Privacy and Confidentiality: Ensure your plan respects the privacy and confidentiality of your communications and digital assets.

Instructions for Distribution or Deletion

  • Specific Wishes: Detail how you want each asset to be handled—whether transferred to a particular individual, archived, or deleted.

Creating a comprehensive Digital Will is a critical step in modern estate planning, ensuring that your digital legacy is managed according to your wishes and that your loved ones are not left with the burden of guessing your intentions or facing unnecessary obstacles.

Laws regarding digital assets can be complex and vary by location. Consult an estate planning attorney to ensure your Digital Will is valid and effective.

Start Planning for Tomorrow
Take the first step towards a secure future with our free will creation service from Fabric by Gerber Life.3 It's quick and easy. Start my free will.

Pros: What Are the Benefits of a Digital Will?

A Digital Will offers several significant benefits, reflecting the growing importance of our digital lives and assets. Here are the primary advantages:

1. Ensures Digital Asset Management

  • Control Over Digital Legacy: Assures that digital assets are identified, accessed, and managed according to your wishes after your death, providing clear instructions for handling everything from social media accounts to digital currencies.

2. Protects Online Identity

  • Prevents Identity Theft: Helps protect against identity theft and fraud by promptly closing or securing online accounts, ensuring your digital footprint even after death.

3. Facilitates Access for Loved Ones

  • Access to Important or Sentimental Digital Content: It provides your loved ones with the ability to access vital documents and sentimental items such as digital photos, videos, or personal writings, which might otherwise be lost.

4. Simplifies the executor's Duties

  • Guidance for Executors: Delivers a roadmap for executors or digital executors, making it easier to fulfill their duties by providing detailed instructions and access information for digital assets.

5. Prevents Loss of Assets

  • Recovery of Valuable or Monetizable Digital Assets: It helps in identifying and retrieving valuable digital assets, such as domain names, cryptocurrency, or online revenue streams, ensuring they are inherited as intended and not overlooked or lost.

6. Complies with Legal and Service Agreements

  • Respects Terms of Service and Legal Requirements: By providing a legal framework for managing digital assets, a Digital Will helps comply with online platforms' terms of service agreements and the evolving laws regarding digital asset inheritance.

7. Reduces Family Conflicts

  • Clarifies Wishes to Avoid Disputes: Clearly stating your wishes regarding digital assets can help prevent misunderstandings or disputes among family members, ensuring a smoother transition and distribution of both digital and physical estates.

8. Preserves Online Businesses

  • Continuity for Online Businesses or Blogs: For individuals who run online businesses or blogs, a Digital Will can ensure these assets continue to operate or are appropriately handled, preserving the value and legacy of such endeavors.

9. Ensures Privacy and Dignity

  • Decides the Fate of Personal Communications: You can specify how personal communications, emails, and messages should be handled, ensuring privacy and dignity are maintained according to your preferences.

10. Adapts to Technological Changes

  • Flexibility for Future Assets: As digital landscapes evolve, a Digital Will can be updated to include new types of digital assets and technologies, ensuring your estate plan remains relevant.
Always seek professional legal advice to explore all types of wills and trusts for estate planning, ensuring your final wishes are honored in the most effective and legally sound manner possible.

Cons: What Are the Drawbacks of a Digital Will?

While a Digital Will is an increasingly essential tool for managing your digital legacy, there are some potential drawbacks and challenges to consider:

1. Legal Ambiguity

  • Varying Legal Recognition: Not all jurisdictions have laws that specifically recognize or provide clear guidelines for Digital Wills, which can lead to legal ambiguity regarding their enforceability and the authority granted to digital executors.

2. Security Risks

  • Risk of Data Breach: Storing sensitive information, such as passwords and access codes, even as part of a Digital Will, could pose security risks if not adequately protected, leading to potential data breaches or unauthorized access to your digital assets.

3. Complexity and Maintenance

  • Ongoing Updates Required: Digital assets and online accounts frequently change, necessitating regular updates to the Digital Will to ensure all information remains accurate and comprehensive, which can be time-consuming.

4. Access Issues

  • Conflicts with Terms of Service: Some online platforms and service providers have strict terms of service that may conflict with the wishes expressed in a Digital Will, particularly regarding account access and data inheritance, making it difficult for executors to carry out instructions.

5. Privacy Concerns

  • Exposure of Sensitive Information: The need to include access information (like passwords or security questions) in a Digital Will raises privacy concerns, particularly regarding who can access this information and how it is protected.

6. Dependency on a Digital Executor

  • Finding a Trustworthy and Technologically Capable Executor: The effectiveness of a Digital Will heavily depends on appointing a trustworthy digital executor with the necessary technological savvy to manage digital assets, which may not always be easy.

7. Emotional Strain

  • Potential Emotional Burden on Loved Ones: Accessing and managing digital assets as per a Digital Will can be emotionally taxing for loved ones, especially if they are grieving and faced with complex or voluminous digital estates.

8. Cost

  • Potential Costs: Creating a comprehensive and legally sound Digital Will, especially if involving legal consultation, can incur costs that may not be anticipated by the individual preparing the will.

9. Implementation Challenges

  • Executing Complex Instructions: Some Digital Wills may include complex instructions that can be challenging for executors to implement, particularly if they involve negotiating with multiple service providers or managing assets across different platforms.

10. Technological Evolution

  • Keeping Pace with Technology: The rapid pace of technological change can render some aspects of a Digital Will obsolete or inadequate to cover new types of digital assets or platforms, requiring continuous vigilance and updates.

Despite these challenges, the benefits of having a Digital Will to manage and protect your digital legacy are significant. It's important to carefully plan and secure a Digital Will, potentially with professional guidance, to mitigate these drawbacks and ensure that your digital estate is handled according to your wishes.

Start Planning for Tomorrow
Take the first step towards a secure future with our free will creation service from Fabric by Gerber Life.3 It's quick and easy. Start my free will.

Considerations for a Digital Will

When creating a Digital Will, it's essential to carefully plan to ensure your digital assets are managed as you want and to reduce potential problems for your executors and beneficiaries. Here are key considerations to keep in mind:

Legal Framework and Compliance

  • Understand Local Laws: Since digital asset legislation varies by location, it is crucial to understand your jurisdiction's stance on digital assets and wills. This helps ensure that your Digital Will is compliant and enforceable.
  • Integrate with Traditional Estate Planning: Your Digital Will should complement, not contradict, your traditional will or other estate planning documents. Coordination with an estate planning attorney can ensure both wills work without conflicts.

Selecting a Digital Executor

  • Choose Wisely: Your digital executor should be someone you trust, who is technologically savvy and understands the significance of managing your digital legacy.
  • Clarify the Role and Authority: Clearly define the digital executor's responsibilities, authority, and limits within the Digital Will to avoid confusion and legal challenges.

Cataloging Digital Assets

  • Comprehensive Inventory: Make a detailed list of your digital assets, including social media accounts, online financial accounts, digital collections, and other digital property.
  • Keep it Updated: Digital assets can change frequently. Regularly updating your Digital Will's inventory is essential for its effectiveness.

Access and Security

  • Provide Access Instructions: Ensure your digital executor has the means to access your digital assets. This might involve using a secure digital vault or password manager where login information is stored.
  • Balance Security and Accessibility: While it's important to provide access, maintaining security, especially for sensitive information, is equally crucial. Explore secure methods of sharing access that do not compromise your digital security.

Instructions for Digital Assets

  • Clear Directions: For each digital asset, specify clear instructions for how it should be handled. Your wishes should be explicit, whether an account should be deleted, memorialized, or its contents transferred to a beneficiary.
  • Consider Emotional Impacts: Consider the emotional significance of certain digital assets to your loved ones. Considering their feelings and memories, instructions can make the process more respectful and meaningful.

Legal and Ethical Considerations

  • Respect Terms of Service Agreements: Many online platforms have specific terms regarding account inheritance and management after death. Align your Digital Will's instructions with these terms to prevent potential legal issues.
  • Privacy of Others: Be cautious about instructions that might affect the privacy or rights of others, such as shared digital accounts or content involving third parties.

Review and Updates

  • Regular Review: As with any estate planning document, your Digital Will should be reviewed regularly and updated to reflect new assets, relationship changes, or evolving wishes.
  • Professional Guidance: Consult with an estate planning attorney to ensure your Digital Will is valid, legal, and complements your overall estate plan. Legal advice can also help navigate any complex aspects of digital asset inheritance.

Storage and Accessibility

  • Secure Storage: Store your Digital Will safely, ensuring your digital executor knows where and how to access it when the time comes.
  • Avoid Unsecured Platforms: Do not store sensitive access information or the Digital Will in unsecured or easily accessible locations, such as email accounts or unencrypted files.

Addressing these considerations can significantly enhance the effectiveness of your Digital Will, ensuring your digital legacy is managed as you intend and providing peace of mind for you and your loved ones.

It's always best to consult with a qualified estate attorney to determine whether a digital will aligns with your goals and to explore other estate planning tool options.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need a digital will?

If you have any online accounts or digital assets or care about what happens to your online presence after you pass away, you likely need a digital will. A digital will is a legal document that ensures your wishes are followed and reduces the burden on your loved ones during a difficult time.

What's the difference between a digital will vs traditional will?

  • A Traditional Will outlines instructions for distributing your physical assets (property, finances, etc.) and designates beneficiaries.
  • A Digital Will specifically addresses your online accounts, digital assets (photos, cryptocurrency, intellectual property, etc.), and how you want your online presence managed after your death.

What's the difference between a digital will vs electronic will?

  • A Digital Will pertains explicitly to managing and distributing one's digital assets, such as online accounts and digital content, after death.
  • An Electronic Will refers to a traditional will created, signed, and stored in a digital format instead of on paper. While convenient, verifying it meets your jurisdiction's legal requirements for validity is crucial.


In an era when our lives are increasingly intertwined with technology, a digital will isn't just smart planning— it's essential. Don't let uncertainty overshadow your legacy.

Take advantage of our free-will creation service from Fabric by Gerber Life. It's quick, easy, and the perfect way to begin securing your legacy. Start planning for tomorrow, today.3


  1. A Plan for Your Digital Assets - Nolo.
  2. Why You Should Think About Your Digital Assets Before You Die - AARP.
  3. Free Will from Fabric by Gerber Life, a member of the Western & Southern Financial Group Family of Companies.

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