In today’s world, many of us store and deal with a lot of digital material. These “digital assets” include passwords, email accounts, video storage and photo storage sites, frequent flyer miles, identity sites, gaming sites, and other types of online accounts. There can be real value in these intangible assets even if you can’t touch them or see them.
These sites, accounts and assets are typically password protected which means that generally, only you have access to them. With the increasing role that digital assets play in our lives, a plan is needed to give loved ones or trusted advisers access to them. The plan typically begins by naming a digital executor who will be responsible for all of your digital assets upon your incapacity or death. It could be the same person as the person you have named as personal representative under your will or it could be someone else. This individual might be directed to carry out a few important roles such as:
- Reviewing online videos and photos and using judgment about what should be saved or deleted.
- Reviewing all password-protected online accounts and websites so that the information can be properly evaluated and any assets or obligations properly managed.
- Reviewing email accounts to retrieve important information and then close them out or delete them.
- Permitting your friends and family to post on your Facebook wall for a period of time until it is shut down.
Having a plan in place for your digital assets may be one of the most important things you can do to help preserve your legacy and manage your estate.
This blog should be used for informational purposes only. It does not create an attorney-client relationship with any reader and should not be construed as legal advice. If you need legal advice regarding Why You Need an Estate Plan for Your Digital Assets, or any other estate planning matters, please feel free to contact Stephen L. West at 480.461.5341,or Curtis M. Chipman at 480.461.5329. You can also log on to udallshumway.com, or contact an attorney in your area. Udall Shumway PLC is located in Mesa, Arizona and is a full service law firm. We assist Individuals, families, businesses, schools and municipalities in Mesa and the Phoenix/East Valley.