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Planning for Your Digital Assets

Planning for Your Digital Assets

digial-posessionsWhat are Digital Assets?

Text, images, multimedia information or personal property stored on a server, computer, or other electronic device which currently exists or may exist as technology develops and regardless of the ownership of the physical device upon which the digital asset is stored. Digital assets include, without limitation, any words, characters, codes or contractual rights necessary to access the digital assets.

Make life easier for your family and Executor when you pass or become disabled.
Prepare adequately to assure you have the information needed such as ids and passwords to access information and prevent a subsequent future loss.

(1) Prevent identity theft

  • If you are deceased, your survivors will not have access to your accounts because they lack all the information needed. Therefore, they cannot monitor the accounts and it gives criminals a window of opportunity before databases are updated showing a death occurred.

(2) Prevent Loss to Estate

  • Leonard Bernstein (famous composer), died in 1990 and on his computer in a password-protected file was a memoir titled “Blue Ink”. He named it because he had a tradition of signing everything in blue ink. To date, no one has been able to access this valuable file.
  • Domain Names – You may know someone that may have a valuable domain name. If you or the individual you know were to pass and the domain name was not renewed or the ownership was not transferred, it would be lost. Some domain names have tremendous value.
    Examples: A few years ago these domains sold for:

    • Funded.com – $10 Million
    • Wine.com – $3.3 Million
    • Social.com – $2.6 Million

(3) Avoid Losing the Deceased’s Story

  • Given the popularity of digital information, now most photos are stored in digital form and never printed.

(4) Protect Secrets from Being Revealed

  • An individual may not want their private documents and emails revealed. They could contain family secrets, a story that is not politically correct, a joke or picture.
    Have you ever stored something of this nature?

It is very important to plan for your digital assets to prevent the theft of a deceased individual’s identity and assets. In addition, fiduciaries need to identify and gather assets to ensure their proper disposition after an individual passes away.