Have you made a plan for your digital assets?
In today’s technological world, estates include more than just the obvious, tangible property that people think of first. Along with houses, cars, and jewelry, many people have digital assets that can be inherited.
Digital assets include items such as passwords, digital pictures, medical information, instructive memos, and any other item that is accessed primarily through digital means such as books, music, and movies.
Digital assets can also include intellectual property such as copyrights, trademarks, and patents. Because of its wide definition and its growing presence in the world, property that was once only held physically is quickly becoming digitized.
David Osterman has over 30 years of experience assisting individuals in managing their digital assets through estate planning. With that talent on your side, you can feel confident that your assets will be protected when you pass. Contact us online today, or call 303-759-3199 to have your digital asset questions answered.
Estate plans need to cover digital complexities
Digital photo formats are becoming pervasive. Writings, bank accounts, and social networking sites are all becoming fully digitized too.
Making sure your heirs can find the passwords for these accounts after a death can ensure continued access to these libraries for years to come and prevent hackers from corrupting your information or locking out authorized users.
Ensuring that intellectual property that exists only digitally is properly transferred to heirs is another important part of estate planning.
Copyrights, trademarks and patents are valuable assets that may represent the culmination of your life’s work. Proper estate planning ensures they transfer to the person you want, that rights are correctly recorded or registered and that clear statements exist on licensing and responsibility for maintenance payments.
Other issues that are unique to digital estate planning include:
- Electronic assets have the capability to be copied indefinitely, which is especially a problem when the assets represent intellectual property.
- In order to issue the assets to the new owners, the executor may need access to the deceased’s online accounts, which can create privacy violations.
- On the inheritor’s side, inheriting digital property might require IT skills that the inheritor does not possess.
- In many situations, customer service providers hosting the digital information terminate or reduce accounts upon the death of the original owner.
- Inheritors might have limited instructions on how to manage each of their new accounts.
- Finally, problems may arise with the extreme proliferation of the digital information. Because the average person has around 25 online accounts, finding and distributing the information to the right sources stored throughout all of the deceased’s various devices can be time consuming and difficult.
Because of all of the various considerations that must be taken when putting digital assets into an estate, it is extra helpful to get help from a specialist in this area. The Denver based Osterman Law Firm specializes in estate planning and can help you plan all aspects of your estate, including those in the digital arena.