Your first question may actually be “What digital assets?” You probably have more than you realize. Do you bank over the internet? Do you send e-mails? Do you have a website or blog? Do you chat with friends and family over Facebook or share photos on Shutterfly? If the answer to any of those questions was “yes,” then you have digital assets that need to be addressed in your estate plan.
Estate planning for digital assets is a bit more complicated than planning for traditional assets. This is due in large part to the fact that state and federal laws have yet to catch up to the lightening pace at which the world is turning digital. Often, this means that there is no “fallback” rule for how to handle a digital asset that was not included in an estate plan. Worse still, those pesky user agreements that none of us actually read may be the fallback for handling a digital asset.
To avoid confusion take the time yourself to include all of your digital assets in your estate plan. Start by making a list of all of them. Include where they can be located (website, blog location etc.), your user name and your password. Then provide instructions for how you want them handled. Do you want your Facebook account closed immediately or do you want it to stay active?
Once all of that is done, decide on whom you want to handle your digital assets. Finally, store the lists in a secure spot such as a fireproof safe and be sure that the designated handler knows how to access the lists.
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