Now that the holidays are over and the new year has begun, you might have already started using your new digital assets. If you received a new cell phone, computer, tablet, or any other piece of communications or digital technology, you might need to take a little time to review how that new acquisition plays a role in your estate plan.
We have blogged about digital estate planning before, but as digital assets become increasingly more important, and a larger part of our day-to-day lives, it’s important to regularly review the issues surrounding them. Further, if you already have an estate plan but have yet to address digital asset concerns, you need to schedule an appointment to come talk to us about what you might need to add to your plan. Until then, let’s take a look at how you would go about reviewing your digital assets in light of your estate plan.
The chances are that most people reading this blog have numerous digital them right now. If you have a cellular or smart phone, you already have some important information on that device. Whether it’s photographs, personal contact information, or passwords to your email accounts, websites, or social media accounts you access through your phone, your phone is a digital asset. It’s also one that allows you to access other digital assets.
Beyond your phone, there’s also any computer you might have, documents you might keep on the computer, books you might have on an e-reader, or photographs you have on a digital camera. Developing a list of all the digital assets you have in your possession is the first step in protecting them. Not only is creating a list necessary for allowing you to develop plan to protect your assets, but is also necessary if you want someone else to be able to manage those assets for you.
Digital Access Information
Another key part of the digital asset equation is identifying the access information and details necessary to use those assets. For example, if you have an email account, you probably have a password that allows you to access it. You might also have personal identification numbers, security questions, and a host of other important pieces of information that are necessary to use those digital assets. Should you die or become incapacitated, others might need to manage for access those digital assets, and will not be able to do so if they don’t have the necessary pieces of access information.
Keeping Your Digital Plan Up-to-Date
Deciding how you want to protect your digital assets is up to you to decide. Your attorney can guide you through the process of creating tools that will protect you and your digital properties, but making the choice to do so is your responsibility. If you haven’t already developed a digital asset protection plan, talk to us as soon as possible.
Parman & Easterday