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Estate Planning for Digital Assets

Have you thought about what happens to your “digital assets” when you are gone? What happens to your email, your Facebook page, your blog, your website? What about online banking and investment accounts? What about all the photos you have stored on your computer and personal information that needs to be removed?

This can all be very challenging for a trustee or loved one to figure out upon your death. Most people plan for the distribution of their physical assets but may overlook digital assets. Also the person you choose to be your executor or successor trustee may not be sufficiently computer savy to deal with digital assets,

The American Bar Association has a website with an excellent article on how to incorporate digital assets into your estate plan. The author Dennis Kennedy has a great 5 step approach to managing such assets, including inventorying your assets, finding someone that has expertise with computers and digital assets, leaving instructions for what should happen upon your death, and giving such individuals the authority to do such things as closing you online accounts, taking down websties or blogs, and getting valuable data off your computer.

This is an interesting aspect of estate planning that can only become more important as we continually progess in computer technology. We may see more and more clients who need to incorporate planning for their “digital estate” into their estate plan.

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