• Digital Assets: Reshaping the way you think about them

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Digital Assets

When it comes to, wills, power of attorney and all that goes into crafting your estate plan, you should include a discussion about digital assets with your attorney.

Our lives today are primarily conducted online – making digital assets part of our daily lives. Yet many of us fail to recognize that the value of digital assets are as important as tangible assets. McAffee, in 2014, conducted research that disclosed digital devices hold an estimated value of $35,000. Topping the list of stored items are personal memories, photos, and videos which was estimated at over $17,000.

As we store an increasing amount of assets and accounts online, their emotional and financial value increases. If you have not included digital asset information along with your estate planning documents, your beneficiaries may not be able to access your accounts, particularly if they do not have passwords and related information. Additionally, problems arise with social media accounts that are covered by TOS (terms of service) agreements which prohibit an accountholder from disclosing information to third parties, or allowing them to access your account, and from transferring the account. Laws governing digital accounts vary state-by-state and all too often beneficiaries are locked out of their loved ones’ social media and other accounts.

What is a Digital Asset?

Digital asset refers to any content a person owns in digital form i.e., anything that you access online, your computer, a mobile device, or that is stored in the cloud. The list of digital assets is extensive and tends to fall into several categories including:

high-tech items and shopping accounts; unfortunately, people are not as careful in selecting passwords making it easy for hackers to access accounts. Google provides many ideas on how to choose hard-to-hack passwords

Estate Planning and Digital Assets

When it comes to estate planning we realize that protection of our homes, loved ones, and financial assets are critical. However, it is equally important to protect the legacy of your digital assets as well. Pointers for safeguarding your digital assets include:

The importance of including digital assets in your estate plan cannot be overstated as Internet usage becomes more pervasive and as online accounts become even more valuable. Be sure to discuss this topic with an estate planning attorney… soon.