As technology has become ingrained in our daily lives, creating a plan for your digital assets is essential. After all, ensuring someone has access to your social media accounts and personal computer files after you pass is vital to ensuring your accounts follow your wishes. If you’re unsure where to start when it comes to digital asset planning, a Woodland Hills, California estate planning attorney can help provide peace of mind.
Is Digital Estate Planning Legally Recognized?
Before understanding what a digital estate is comprised of, you’ll want to ensure that your digital will is legally recognized. In many states, a digital will is not legally recognized. In order to guarantee digital assets are taken care of, many need to add this information to their existing will in order for it to be legally recognized. However, this process can be challenging, as wills become public after death. This means anyone can view the passwords or information you’ve added to the document.
Luckily, California residents have the ability to create a digital estate plan that is legally recognized. This means you can keep this document separate from your will, protecting your passwords and personal information. You even have the opportunity to store the record with your attorney or keep it locked behind a website.
What Are My Digital Assets?
Understanding the legality of this document is crucial. However, it is paramount to understand what your digital assets include, so you can be sure to include all of the necessary information in your digital estate. Your digital assets include the following:
- Email accounts
- Social media
- Online banking
- Video game accounts
- Online stores
- Photos, videos, music, and books stored electronically
- Personal documents
For many, these accounts may not be worth much, but the value should not go to waste. For example, if you have rewards points for an online store or credit from a subscription, you should encourage the will executor to cash those points in.
Your digital assets can also include physical electronics, like phones, computers, flash drives, and hard drives. In general, these devices have monetary value even if they have no files stored on them.
How Do I Prepare My Digital Estate Plan?
In order to keep your digital assets safe and distributed properly, there are a few steps you need to take to ensure your wishes are met. This includes compiling a list of all your accounts and writing down the username, password, and answers to security questions.
Once you have this information, you need to decide what you would like to happen to your accounts and assets, just as you would with physical property or funds. For example, you may want your social media accounts permanently deleted after you pass or ownership of your online store transferred to the new manager.
After you have determined your wishes, you should appoint a digital estate executor. Much like the executor of your will, they will be responsible for following your digital plan.
If you are ready to settle your digital assets, the Law Offices of Yacoba Ann Feldman can help. Our experienced estate planning attorneys are prepared to meet with you and ensure your wishes are fulfilled.