What kind of digital legacy are you leaving behind?

When it comes to arranging estate planning and other end-of-life matters, most people will already have some idea of what they want to do with their assets, possessions and funds.

However, another area that is becoming increasingly important is your digital legacy - in other words, the things you will leave behind in the online world.

Social media and other online interactions are undoubtedly becoming a bigger part of everyday life, not just for the younger generation but for Australians of all ages. As a result, this shift in online activity is beginning to have important implications for those looking to get their affairs in order.

According to a recent report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), in the three months leading up to June this year, Australians downloaded almost 20,000 terabytes of data via a mobile handset.

Total internet subscribers in Australia reached 12,358,000 at the end of June as well, representing a 3 per cent increase from the same period last year.

When it comes to the type of internet connection Australians prefer to use, fibre is emerging as the fastest-growing option with a 26 per cent jump since December 2012, contributing to a total of 115,000 users.

Mobile wireless broadband still dominates, however, with 6.2 million connections of this kind recorded by the ABS.

Given the increasing amount of activity Australians are engaging in online, it's perhaps no surprise that Australian legal firm Slater & Gordon is urging everyone to consider their digital legacy.

In a recent statement released by the company, a succession planning lawyer spoke about what families may wish to do with a loved one's social media after they have passed. Many people now spend a great deal of creative effort and time on their social media accounts.

As such, these can represent important mementos for family left behind, who may wish to memorialise the information or, on the other hand, have the accounts shut down for privacy.

Aside from the content on social media and other sites, today's digital age means many Australians may also have thousands of dollar’s worth of virtual possessions such as music, movies and e-books that they may also want to pass on.

These articles are provided as reference material to allow more informed decision making, but are not intended as being a complete source of information on any topic. All readers should make their own independent analysis on the topic to make sure they have considered the aspects that are important to them.