Estate Planning – Don’t Forget About Your Digital Assets
When we think of our estates passing on after we die, our houses, cars, money, and children may spring to mind. Most people don’t think about their cloud storage, social media accounts, internet domains, or online investments. Your digital assets need to be as much a part of your estate planning as your other assets. We are here to help you plan ahead so your digital presence is taken care of.
Not All Attorneys Are Created Equal
Find a knowledgeable and experienced attorney who is familiar with your state’s laws and regulations. Technology is evolving at such an incredible rate that the law must keep with up with it and can be confusing when it comes to digital assets and their distribution. California is just one state to pass a digital assets bill that provides guidelines as to how digital assets can be accessed after death.
Facebook offers a legacy contact option to memorialize your account but even this comes with stipulations. Make sure you are familiar with all your provider terms of service whether that be cloud storage, your phone, or social media platforms that you use.
It’s Not Enough Just to Have Passwords
Remember that just because someone can access your passwords doesn’t mean they are automatically entitled to your photos, storage, valuable internet domain, or investments. In fact, “statutes like the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (“CFAA”) and The Stored Communications Act governs unauthorized access to computers and electronic devices and limits providers’ ability to share account information with others.” Look into password protection programs or even the technology of blockchain can be an alternative solution for secure access.
Not Looking out for Assets Leaves You Open to Fraud
Leaving your digital accounts out of your estate plan not only deprives your heirs of invaluable photos, videos, and more, but If these accounts are left behind or ignored, it leaves you open to potential fraud as your accounts are hacked or, your identity is stolen.
Not just for photos or social media presence, planning for digital assets also includes things like email which is tied for many to your utility bills, banking, credit scores, or loans.