More and more individuals and corporations are relying heavily on Web-based environments to engage in business. From simple, lead-generating Web pages for small businesses to blogs that have multiple streams of revenue such as affiliate activity and sponsored posts, the ways in which we use the Web in association with our for-profit endeavors are almost endless. Today we are going to visit the processes associated with the transfer of for-profit digital assets as part of a legacy or inheritance.
If any of your revenue or business interactions are intertwined with a Web page, then it is essential that you take the necessary steps to ensure continuity for your customers as well as access to revenue opportunities for your heirs. If your business or blog is relatively small, then you may be able to keep it under your personal name as private property, without resorting to creating a limited-liability corporation. If, on the other hand, your business involves several individuals such as employees to whom you have payroll obligations, then you may want to consider creating an LLC with several individuals having joint ownership, if applicable, to ensure continuity in the case of your death.
Regardless of the size or complexity of your Web pages, there are steps you can take to make sure those you love and those who depend on your Web pages continue to have access to functions and digital assets. This will enable them to manage your digital resources immediately after your death, and move forward when decisions are made based on your testament as to whom should manage your digital assets.
Audit All Your for-Profit Digital Interactions
Set time aside to step back and identify your digital assets that may have an impact on businesses or revenue streams after you die. This may include active, inactive, or parked domains associated with websites representing brick-and-mortar businesses, or businesses that are fully online. Once you have identified the totality of your for-profit digital assets, create a list with passwords and validation questions associated with your profiles as well as the email and password principally used for business communications for each domain. Don’t neglect to document more obscure passwords such as cPanel and database passwords. Your heirs, executors, or agents should be able to access the hosting company as well as CMS platforms such as WordPress. Note that each has a separate password as well as a different way of validating when you have placed two-factor authentication processes.
Discuss Your Vision and Totality of Digital Assets with a Trusted Party
Assume the best and plan for the worst. If you have selected an individual to manage your affairs after your death, then discuss the intricacies of your digital assets. Make sure he or she is familiar with external revenue streams such as affiliate marketing and Google advertising. Meet with certain frequency to ensure the person tasked with handling your affairs after your death has the latest and greatest in terms of strategy and revenue sources.
Seriously Consider Creating an LLC
Having a limited-liability corporation as owner of your digital assets can be of significant advantage when it comes to creating continuity after you die. While giving someone your password can certainly facilitate access in some situations, it is illegal for another to “impersonate” you when accessing certain digital assets. For this reason, an LLC is a perfect solution to protect all stakeholders and heirs and guarantee seamless transfer of assets.
Become Familiar with the Terms of Service
You know you won’t live forever. As you enter into contracts associated with your digital assets and digital streams of revenue, take time to read and understand the terms of service. By understanding the conditions associated with your digital assets, you will be able to better prepare, should something happen to you.
Centralize Your Access Information
Create both an online and offline centralized and updated location with all of the information pertaining to your digital assets. Update it often, and discuss with stakeholders what it would take to access the information and ensure continuity in business.
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Finally, if you are a service provider, take the necessary steps to ensure continuity in service to your customers. Maintain updated customer lists, and create procedures designed to ensure your representative handles his or her matters in a professional and timely manner.