If you are like most people these days, you use electronic devices such as smartphones, computers, or tablets. Because of this, you may own digital assets. As with physical assets, you want your digital assets to be planned out and included in your estate plan. Your estate planning attorney in Ridgeland can discuss with you the important details to make this happen and protect your digital assets.
What are Considered Digital Assets?
These assets include important data you stored on your electronic device or in a cloud account. Also, it includes information in password-protected online accounts. Email accounts, online subscriptions, financial accounts, reward accounts, shopping accounts, and social media accounts are also digital assets.
Your Digital Assets and Your Estate
After you die, your digital assets don’t automatically transfer to your heirs or beneficiaries. A lot of online accounts can only be accessed by owners, based on the Terms of Service of the website owner. Although state law offers access to specific fiduciaries, the latter should be properly designed first. So, it is important to ensure your digital assets are addressed in your estate plan instead of depending on the law to offer access when you become incapacitated or die.
Reasons to Include Your Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan
Should you die or become incapacitated, your presence online won’t disappear. Because of this, your accounts and files can be exposed to hacking. If you own a valuable account or file, someone may try to access or steal it. If nobody has access to these accounts, they cannot be protected.
Additionally, you may want some family members to get some of your digital assets. For instance, you may want a person to get continue your website, social media account, or blog. Also, keep in mind that your digital asset can impact estate administration. For instance, if the value of your digital assets exceeds the limit for utilizing the small estate affidavit process to avoid probate, your estate plan should consider this fact.
Protecting Your Digital Assets
Start by creating a comprehensive list of your digital assets including online accounts and the passwords you use for accessing them. If you have computer files or cloud accounts, save a copy of these files. Also, store the inventory list of your digital assets separately. You can store the copy with your estate plan or include a note with your plan on the location of the copy. Consider making a regular backup of your digital assets.
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