Estate planning and digital assets

by | Nov 25, 2016 | Estate Planning |

There are many reasons to create an estate plan. A customized plan can help you protect yourself and your loved ones if the unthinkable should occur. Estate plans can reduce your tax burden, provide for your future, protect your business and ensure that your medical preferences are respected. With relatively few exceptions, the goals and tools of estate planning have remained the same for decades. There is one area where the law has not kept up with modern life. Digital assets are increasingly important, but are trapped behind laws that were never intended to cover the reality of how we handle information these days.

Who owns your Facebook page?

Facebook can be a convenient way to stay in touch with your children, grandchildren and other loved ones. If you run a business, it can be useful for keeping in touch with clients and promoting what you do. Facebook insists that your page belongs to you. As such, it is an asset and should be treated like any other asset when it comes time to plan for the future. 

A cloud of information

Traditional data storage methods are increasingly going by the wayside. Cloud computing means that many people do not store their personal emails or even financial records in a way that can be accessed by next of kin. Can anyone access your email if you are not there to provide them with the passwords?

Covering your bases

Data privacy laws make accessing digital records a challenge. You should not assume that important information and other digital assets will be transferred automatically to your preferred beneficiary. When you create your plan, it is important to discuss your digital assets with an experienced estate planning attorney. Having a plan in place, one that includes digital assets, can ensure that your loved ones get access to everything they need in a timely manner.