Why You Need To Protect Your Digital Assets
When you consider how to best prepare your estate, what comes to mind? Of course, you want to sort out real estate you own, valuable jewelry and family mementos. You’ll also need to discuss things like vehicles and insurance policies. But what about your digital assets?
The average person visits nearly 100 separate websites a month. Some of those may be solely for entertainment purposes, but you have digital assets if you’re active online. Some examples:
Social media sites
Pictures, videos, and text messages
Bank, credit union and investment accounts
Cloud storage sites like iCloud and Google Drive
In some cases, these digital assets could be nearly as valuable – if not more – than physical assets. Even if you aren’t an avid Internet user, these assets still belong to you.
Some companies have made it easier to handle your digital assets after death. For example, Facebook lets you designate a legacy contact who can take over your account. The contact will need to provide proof of your death, and then they’ll be able to update your profile picture and respond to friend requests. You can even choose to have your account permanently deleted after you die.
Unfortunately, not every digital platform makes things so simple. We’ve created a how-to guide to help you get started on a digital estate plan.
Make A List Of Digital Assets
This could take some time depending on how active you are online, but it’s a vital first step. You’ll need to create a detailed list with all of your digital assets: Email accounts, social media, blogs, websites, credit cards, banking, cloud storage, charitable organizations, online storefronts like Amazon and anything else that comes to mind. Include what the account is used for and how to access it.
Safely Store Your List
It’s imperative you find a safe place to keep your digital asset inventory as you don’t want it ending up in the wrong hands. The list will contain incredibly sensitive information, and your identity could be at risk if it were stolen. How will you store your inventory sheet? It must be kept private but also accessible to your digital executor. If you are having trouble deciding how to store your list, it’s best to contact an estate lawyer.
Designate A Digital Executor
You’ve decided what will happen to your digital assets, but who will handle them? Just like physical assets, your digital executor should be someone you trust to follow your wishes and protect your privacy. Common examples of a digital executor include a sibling, parent, spouse or close friend. If you need help determining who you should choose, we’re here to help.
Siegel Law Group, P.A., is here to help as you prepare your digital assets. We are experts in estate planning and can help make sure you don’t miss a thing. Give us a call at 855-FLA-ESTATE or click here to contact an attorney.