ESTATE PLANNING FOR DIGITAL ASSETS

Estate planning for digital assets, what are digital assets?

Digital assets can include a wide range of items that most of us use so frequently, that we don’t even stop to think about.  Some examples are icloud accounts, cell phones, emails, digital photos and videos, airline miles, online banking and financial accounts, and social media accounts like Facebook and Instagram.  Basically, it is any type of electronic record which someone has a right or interest in.

What is the first thing we should do to plan for our digital assets?

Make an inventory of all of your digital assets and review and update it regularly.  After you do this, you should share the information with a trusted loved one (or your trustee or executor) and make sure they know how to access these assets.  That means that you need to include passwords, login information, pin numbers and usernames as part of your inventory as well.

Where should we keep our digital asset inventory?

It is critical that you keep this list in a secure location. You can use a password manager, keep a copy on a separate hard drive or thumb drive, or use a fireproof box. Whichever method you choose, make sure that a trusted individual, like your trustee or executor, knows where to find this inventory and how to access it.  There is no point of doing a list of your digital assets if no one can find it.  So don’t forget this step!

What is a legacy contact for digital assets?

IPhones and Facebook are now offering users the ability to electronically designate a legacy contact so that if something happens to them, an individual that they designate can access those digital items. This is a wonderful option and people should definitely take advantage of it.  It is really simple to do, and makes things easier on your loved ones if something happens to you.

How else can people do estate planning for their digital assets?

Talk with your estate planning attorney about your digital assets and make sure that your estate planning addresses these assets.  It is important to have language in your estate planning documents to address who controls your digital assets upon your disability or death.  If you have any specific concerns or unique digital assets, make sure to address these with your attorney.  Remember, digital assets include anything electronic which means everything from online literary works and blogs to music and everything in between.

Where can people go for more information on this?

Individuals definitely want to work with a good estate planning attorney to explore all of their digital assets and make sure that their estate plan addresses them.  If you or your loved one live in Michigan or Florida, we can help.  Just email us at contact@danielleandandy.com.

Danielle and Andy Mayoras are co-authors of Trial & Heirs:  Famous Fortune Fights!, legal media experts, and keynote speakers.  You can find them on Instagram, YouTube, and LinkedIn.  For all of the latest legal news, be sure to check out their blog.

 

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    MEET DANIELLE

    Danielle Mayoras is an on-camera legal expert, attorney, author, and keynote speaker. As a respected media source, she has lent her expertise and analysis to hundreds of media sources, including The Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, ABC News, The Wall Street Journal, Vanity Fair, People, Forbes, Kiplinger, The Washington Post, Huffington Post, among many others. She has appeared on Access Hollywood, the Rachael Ray Show, The Insider, CNN, CNN International, NBC Nightly News, Forbes, The Hallmark Channel, ABC’s Live Well Network, CBS, FOX, PBS, and NBC affiliates. Danielle also serves as a legal analyst for CBS News Detroit.

    In addition to co-authoring the best-selling book Trial & Heirs: Famous Fortune Fights!, Danielle has been a contributor to Forbes and other outlets. Danielle has also appeared as a TV host and legal expert on multiple celebrity documentaries for the REELZ Channel. When not doing media, Danielle helps clients in her thriving law firm and serves as a keynote speaker delighting audiences across the country.