Digital Inheritance: Estate Planning For Digital Assets

We live in a time in which much of our lives are lived online. Even if you're still a bit of a newbie to social media or online banking, chances are that you have something digital that will have value to those you leave behind. Digital assets (even if they are just family photos) are one of the little details that are often overlooked in older will and trust documents, or even by those who are preparing their own estate planning documents. It's important to remember that, unless an estate plan has specific language regarding digital assets, such assets may be forgotten or worse, lost completely.

Digital assets are not automatically distributed upon the death of an individual, and so their distribution must be planned for. While such assets include the obvious like cryptocurrencies, family photos and old letters which can be used as part of geneaology projects, it also includes things like revenue-generating blogs, or documents (like bank statements, contracts and identifying writings) that can be used to value other assets in the estate, (or to prove their existence if one of your beneficiaries tries to hide something from the rest of your family.) Bank accounts and credit card debts are not always easily identified when someone passes away, so keeping track of information relating to these assets and debts is important too.

Another important reason to plan for what will happen with your digital assets after you pass away is the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. By making specific mention that you give permission to specific people (and/or fiduciary organizations) in your estate plan, you can eliminate any danger of the claim that those people and/or organizations were accessing your digital assets without your permission.

Conversely, it can be adviseable to make a plan for your digital assets simply because you do not want your online information to be made open and available to your beneficiaries. If you have content of a personal nature that you'd rather was kept private after your passing, you can specify in your estate plan which accounts and what content or assets your beneficiaries are allowed access to, and which accounts they are not. In the worst case scenario, you can even make copies of all the online content and assets and provide these to your beneficiaries before your passing and make it clear that your online accounts and digital assets are completely off limits.

All these options (and more) are available as ways to control what happens to your estate. There are many important considerations when crafting a solid estate plan, and when one is less familiar with the law than a professional working in the field, sometimes little things can get missed, turning into bigger problems down the line. Avoid all that mess by working with an experienced attorney like Zachary Rayo of Rayo Law Offices.

Ready to get protected? Rayo Law Offices Can Help:
Call (925) 825-1955 or contact Zachary Rayo online to set up an appointment for an initial “meet and greet” consultation.

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