No doubt about it; technology has revolutionized our lives and our society. It has even changed what is considered to be part of a person’s “estate” when they die.
“Back in the day” all you had to worry about was your present life, the afterlife and passing on your tangible assets (real property, stocks & bonds etc.) to those you love.
In today’s world, you have to worry about your present life, the afterlife and your digital life!
Which means that your estate planning has to include your tangible and intangible digital assets, like:
- computers (laptops, tablets)
- flash drives
- e-book readers
- social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc.)
- domain names, and
Unfortunately, many internet service providers do not allow accounts to be transferred to heirs —even if your Will says to.
Plus, certain privacy protections created by federal law prohibit online service providers from federal privacy laws disclosing the contents of certain electronic communications and files.
As a result, individuals must plan ahead to allow their heirs access to (or disclosure of) their online accounts and digital assets when they die or if they should become incapacitated.
What You Can Do to Prepare for Your Digital End.
There are some things that you can do to ensure that your digital assets get included in your estate plan and passed on to your loved ones.
Select a Legacy Contact.
Some social networks like Facebook, give you the option of choosing someone to have limited access to your account after you die in order to manage it or delete it altogether.
List All Your E-mail Accounts and Passwords.
Another thing you can do is to list all of your e-mail accounts and passwords and keep it with your Will, so that your lawyer or personal representative (or “executor”) will have access to them if needed.
When it comes to access to social media profiles or online financial accounts, making sure that the person who will be handling your estate after your passing has access to these accounts and passwords is especially important.
Consult Experienced Trusts and Estates Counsel.
Finally, one of the best things you can do to prepare your digital estate is to consult with experienced and knowledgeable trusts and estates counsel.
Every state has its own laws regarding the treatment of digital assets and both the law and technology keeps evolving, making it difficult for laymen to keep up with all the changes.
Digital asset planning is important. It addresses the financial and sentimental considerations of your digital assets.
We Can Answer All Your Questions.
If you want to know what digital assets you should plan for, call us. We offer free consultations, and we serve all of Arizona. Our offices are located in Sedona, Arizona and our practice focuses on trusts and estates law. We can answer all your questions and help you. Call us at 928-282-1483 or send us an e-mail.