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How to Protect Your Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan

Loune-Djenia Askew, Esq.

Apr 29, 2024

In today's digital world, many valuable assets like social media accounts, digital wallets, and personal blogs are stored online, becoming a crucial part of our digital legacy. Yet, managing and distributing these assets after we pass is often neglected in traditional estate planning. Properly handling these digital assets requires careful planning and a good understanding of what they involve.

How to Protect Your Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan

Incorporating Digital Assets into Your Estate Plan

Digital assets are any online accounts or files on devices like computers, smartphones, and online storage that hold financial or sentimental value. To protect them, start by fully identifying and listing these assets, including their login details and security information. Keep this list secure but accessible to your executor or digital executor, who will handle your online presence after you're gone.

The next step is to include specific instructions in your will or estate plan that detail how each digital asset should be handled. Should your social media profiles be memorialized or deleted? Who gets access to your email accounts or digital photo libraries? You also need to be aware of the terms of service agreements for each platform, as they often dictate what can legally be done with your accounts after you die.

Legal Considerations and Privacy

Privacy laws and the terms of service of online platforms can complicate the process of transferring digital assets. For instance, the Stored Communications Act or similar privacy statutes may prevent the disclosure of electronic communications to third parties without explicit user consent. This makes it imperative to provide lawful consent in your estate planning documents, possibly through a digital consent directive that grants your executor legal authority to manage or close your accounts.

Ensuring Access and Security

Maintaining security while ensuring access for your executor is a delicate balance. Use a digital estate planning service or secure document storage solutions to keep your digital asset inventory and access information safe. Regular updates to this list are necessary as passwords change and new accounts are created.

By following these steps, you can make sure your digital assets are properly handled after your death, making things clearer and easier for your loved ones and keeping your digital legacy intact as you wish.

For more information, contact our office at Askew & Associates, P.A. by calling 954-546-2699.

Disclaimer: this blog post is not intended to be legal advice. We highly recommend speaking to an attorney if you have any legal concerns.

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