Estate Planning in the 21st Century: Have You Considered Your Digital Assets?

Estate Planning in the 21st Century: Have You Considered Your Digital Assets?

Estate Planning in the 21st Century: Have You Considered Your Digital Assets?

Estate planning needs are changing with the times! Families today have to consider things that previous generations never dreamed of. For example, in addition to planning for physical assets, today’s families also need to make a plan for their digital assets. This includes access to online bank accounts, LinkedIn and Facebook profiles, photo sharing accounts, blogs, family trees and more. So much of our lives exist online, but digital estate laws are in their infancy in a few states and are non-existent in most states. Because the law is still developing and varies greatly from state to state, the best thing individuals can do is consult with their attorney to make the best plan within the legal framework of the state of residence. In the mean time, it’s important for families to take stock of their digital assets and determine the course of action they’d like followed upon their death. For example, if you’d like to have your social media accounts shut down after your death, your executor will need knowledge of and access to your accounts. If you have photos stored digitally online or personal memories collected on a blog, your family will need to know how to access them so that they can be downloaded and preserved. E-mail accounts may need to be shut down. Facebook accounts can be closed or have an option to become a memorial site. In addition, some digital assets have more than just sentimental value; items such as domain names, ad revenue from blogs or YouTube videos, etc.  may have monetary value. In order for your estate to benefit from them, they have to be accounted for in your Estate Plan. Your attorney can guide you through this new territory in Estate Planning.