What is a Digital Vault?
If you’ve created an estate plan, you likely know what will happen to your financial assets when you die- but what about your digital assets? Digital vault services are an increasingly popular way to organize your digital life. But what exactly is a digital vault, and is it worth the cost?
What is a Digital Vault?
Digital vault services collect your digital assets into a “vault”, or a central location where they are stored. This allows your successor trustee or executor to easily access and manage them when you’re gone.
Here are some assets you may wish to include in your digital vault:
- Online banking, brokerage, and cryptocurrency accounts
- Online photos, videos, and blog posts
- Online family trees
- Email accounts
- Social-media accounts
- Frequent flier miles
- Credit card points
Why Use a Digital Vault?
You may wonder if you need a digital vault. Will your successor trustee legally be able to take control of your digital assets when you’re gone? If you have an estate plan that has been updated in the past few years, the answer is likely yes. Most revocable living trusts drafted in the past few years do contain language granting successor trustees the powers to access digital assets.
However, actually tracking these assets down can be difficult and time-consuming. Instead of spending hours playing detective trying to hunt down passwords or access assets that were managed online prior to your passing, a digital vault keeps all of this information in one place where your successor can easily find it when you’re gone.
If you have any recurring subscriptions (like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, or Apple Music), a digital vault will make it easier for your successor to access and cancel these subscriptions, saving the estate money.
Cost of Services
Prices for digital vault services vary by platform. At the lower end, Cake offers a basic plan for no cost, with an $8/month cost for a Premium subscription. However, Cake does not offer a way to store digital passwords. (If you’re looking for a simple spreadsheet to track passwords, we offer a free one in our Client Resources page.)
On the higher end, Everplans and My Life & Wishes currently run around $75-80 per year. Both services offer a free trial to test their product. In the mid-range are Easeenet and Goodtrust in the $60-70 per year range at the time of writing.
Some services offer special features, like Good Trust’s unique “Last Goodbye”. This feature allows you to write final messages or record videos for your loved ones. These messages are stored and automatically sent to your loved ones via email or social media when you pass.
Is a Digital Vault Service Right for Me?
A digital vault service may be an appropriate supplement to a well-considered estate plan. While not strictly necessary, digital vaults may increase your peace of mind and save time and money for your successor when you’re gone. You may wish to explore the services available and utilize their free trials in order to find an option that works best for your specific needs.
If you have any questions about estate planning, feel free to contact our office.
Law Offices of Daniel A. Hunt
The Law Offices of Daniel A. Hunt is a California law firm specializing in Estate Planning; Trust Administration & Litigation; Probate; and Conservatorships. We've helped over 10,000 clients find peace of mind. We serve clients throughout the greater Sacramento region and the state of California.