This one’s for the millennials.
Months on from the COVID-19 pandemic, we are examining the fallout and how it made us rethink our digital footprint after death. So, if you’re wondering how to safely craft your very own digital legacy in a way that works for you and your loved ones, keep calm and read on.
When COVID-19 hit, millennials aged 25-40 flocked to create or update their Will. Perhaps it was all the scary talk of the virus and death that put Wills back on the radar. Perhaps it was a personal experience with death during the pandemic. Either way, millennials took to seeing that their loved ones would be provided for in the event that death came knocking.
Create a password sharing plan
Much like death, revealing our passwords can feel totally off limits. In fact, we’re sure that many millennials would hesitate to disclose their passwords to their partners, children, siblings or parents. But what if the people we leave behind need access to family photos, documents or financial/insurance statements? In this case, it’s a good idea to create a family password sharing plan. You could do this by:
- Writing your passwords down on paper and storing them in a fireproof box alongside your other sensitive documents (and it seems obvious, but only give access to someone you trust).
- You could also lock the details in a filing cabinet, safe or safe deposit box. Whatever works for you.
- Find a secure password manager program that will allow you to create a credential inheritance plan that only your loved ones can access.
With most people who have have been an executor for someone else’s estate saying it was harder to access the deceased's accounts than they expected, getting on top of this issue makes things easier for all involved.
Put difficult conversations on the table
Millennials all around the world are wrestling with a universal truth – that it will likely be up to them to handle their parents’ estate when the time comes. But, as many middle-aged millennials start to enter ‘the sandwich generation’ (a term coined in 1981 by social workers Dorothy Miller and Elaine Brody – one that encompasses a group of adults who care for both their ageing parents and their own children), it seems that those sandwiched might not be totally prepared to handle their parents’ financial affairs, let alone their own. But, with so much responsibility on their shoulders, it’s never been more important for this generation to have these open conversations and to get their affairs in order.
Update your Estate Plan
In our digital age, the time has come to think beyond our physical assets when it comes to building our Estate Plans.
It’s a good idea to consider what you’d like to happen to your digital assets - think Cryptocurrencies and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) - as well as your online profiles (Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, LinkedIn, and any other social media profiles that don’t yet exist but that will in the coming months and years!).
With the the inclination of most millennials to capture photos of everything from their kids to their breakfast to themselves, you should also consider what should happen to your cloud storage and digital pics.
The pandemic has made us all rethink how we want to live our lives. It also made millennials ponder their digital lives and how they will be remembered after death. Making a plan for your digital assets now will not only lighten the mental load for your successors, but will also allow your legacy to be remembered just the way you want it to be.