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Tampa Estate Planning Attorney > Blog > Probate > Don’t Repeat The Old Generation’s Mistakes With Your Digital Estate Plan

Don’t Repeat The Old Generation’s Mistakes With Your Digital Estate Plan


The subgenre of jokes about old people and technology predates the first generation of the iPhone, but a digital estate plan is no laughing matter.  Seeing the incredulity on your grandparents’ faces when you describe to them the difference between Instagram and Tik Tok is certainly fun, and so is going to your mother’s house on Halloween to find decorations and scary sweets she made after finding examples of them on Pinterest.  Figuring out what to do with Dad’s blog, which rivals Roger Ebert’s blog in its eloquence and insight, after he is gone is not fun, however, especially if Dad never expressed wishes about what should happen to his blog or who reads it.  Do you post a goodbye message explaining what happened?  Do you copy the posts and save them to Google Drive?  Do you just leave it alone and wait until the WordPress bots take it down after a certain number of months of inactivity?  It would be easier to know what to do if Dad had told you his wishes about the future of his blog.  A Tampa probate lawyer can help you figure out how to handle the decedent’s online accounts if you are the personal representative of the estate.

Don’t Be in a Hurry to Close the Decedent’s Online Accounts

Before a person’s estate can settle, you must cash out all their bank accounts, settle with their known creditors, and file their final tax return.  Closing their Netflix account or Amazon Kindle account can wait, however.  If the decedent has an account where they post or store content online, such as Dropbox, you should probably keep it open long enough to archive all the files you are sure you want to keep.  Time moves very quickly on the Internet, but considering how recently some Geocities pages were visible, it takes time for online content to disappear into thin air.

Keeping the Decedent’s Social Posts Visible

Even if the decedent did not specify whether they want their writings, artwork, or music to remain publicly visible online, you can choose to keep it visible for the benefit of its audience.  Do not make any of the decedent’s content more public that it already is, but let the family photos still be visible to the family members with whom the decedent shared them.

An Incentive Not to Procrastinate on Your Own Digital Estate Plan

Your generation, even more than that of your parents, has produced and shared valuable content online.  If you have a blog, a YouTube channel, or a SoundCloud account, write a will and specify what should happen to it.  At the very least, write a digital estate plan instructing the personal representative of your estate on how to access your online content.

Contact David Toback About Digital Estate Planning

An estate planning lawyer understands that the videos on your phone are as valuable as gold, silver, and bitcoins.  Contact David Toback in Tampa, Florida to set up a consultation.

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