Securing Your Digital Legacy: A Guide for Colorado Residents

December 5, 2023

Intro to Digital Legacy

It is no secret that the internet has fundamentally reshaped how we interact with death, grief, and remembrance. This online shift presents both opportunities and challenges for navigating life's final chapter. As Coloradan's lives become increasingly intertwined with the digital world, the importance of preparing for our "digital afterlife" cannot be understated. In Colorado, like most states, estate planning now encompasses not just physical assets but also our online footprint, including social media accounts, email, financial holdings, and digital media. Digital legacy is a term referred to as the digital data that is available about someone following their death. You can think of your digital legacy as your online footprint and lasting digital reflection of your identity. Beyond physical possessions, your online presence contributes to your enduring digital legacy.

While the legal landscape surrounding digital assets is still evolving, there are several key points that Colorado residents should be aware of:

Colorado Laws Regarding Digital Legacy:

Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA):

  •  This 2000 law recognizes the validity of electronic signatures and records, providing a foundation for managing digital assets.

Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (FADAA):

  •  This 2016 law allows designated individuals (fiduciaries) to access and manage a deceased individual's digital assets, ensuring proper handling and respecting privacy concerns.

Managing Your Digital Assets:

Platform-Specific Tools:

  •  Many online platforms offer built-in tools for managing your digital afterlife. Facebook's Legacy Contact feature allows you to designate someone to manage your profile after your death, while Google's Inactive Account Manager lets you choose a trusted contact to access your data if your account becomes inactive. Apple now offers a feature that enables their users to pass on information stored by them following their death. 

Digital Estate Planning Tools:

  •  Several online tools like Google Sheets and Google Docs can be shared online with permission and provide aid to help organize your digital assets and create a repository of accounts and logins to create a well-thought-out plan. 

Estate Planning Attorneys:

  •  Consulting with a seasoned estate planning attorney in Colorado can ensure your digital assets are properly addressed in your will or trust. This personalized guidance can help navigate legal complexities and ensure your wishes are clearly communicated. An Estate Planning Attorney will offer guidance on identifying and documenting your digital holdings, selecting beneficiaries, and setting access permissions.

Challenges and Considerations:

Legal complexities:

  •  The laws and regulations surrounding digital assets are still evolving, requiring careful consideration and potentially adapting your plan over time. We recommend you consult with a reputable and innovative estate planning attorney to help set up your digital legacy for success.

Technology changes:

  •  As technology continues and is expected to evolve, new platforms and services may emerge, necessitating updates to your plan and ensuring your designated beneficiaries have access. 

Privacy concerns:

  •  Balancing access with privacy is crucial, especially when dealing with sensitive information. Carefully consider who you grant access to and what information you share online.

Taking Action on Your Digital Legacy:

Identify your digital assets:

  •  Take inventory of your online accounts, including social media, email, financial holdings, and any valuable digital content. We recommend you also revisit our will and estate planning every few years to ensure you have covered all your newest social accounts. 

Create a digital asset inventory:

  •  Document your digital assets, including usernames, passwords, and security information. Make sure this information is readily accessible to your designated beneficiaries.

Choose a digital heir or personal representative:

  •  Designate a trusted agent to manage your digital assets after your death.

Utilize platform-specific tools:

  •  Take advantage of features offered by social platforms like Facebook and Google to manage your digital legacy.

Review and update your plan regularly:

  •  As technology changes and your circumstances evolve, revisit and update your digital estate plan periodically.

Get Estate Planning Help With Your Digital Legacy

By taking these steps above, Colorado residents can secure their digital legacy and ensure their online presence is handled according to their wishes. This provides peace of mind for themselves and protects their loved ones from unnecessary stress and confusion during a difficult time. At Johnson Law Group, we offer complimentary initial consultations to evaluate your case and ensure our team can help. We believe in representing our Coloradans wholeheartedly in estate planning matters. Don't miss out on this opportunity to protect your loved ones with a comprehensive estate plan that includes your digital legacy. Schedule your complimentary consultation Today! Don't wait and contact us today at 720-445-4444; our team is available and ready to answer your questions to discuss your estate planning situation and help you learn about your legal rights and options.

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Written by Family Law Attorney Myles S. Johnson
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