When thinking about what to leave to loved ones after you have passed away, you may first think of your bank account, car, or house. While many people choose to leave their tangible assets to specific individuals in a will after they have died, more and more people are choosing to leave behind their digital assets. Although many will not think of their digital assets when creating their estate plan, digital assets often can be very valuable. In addition, these non-tangible assets can also be harder to pass down to your loved ones due to their nature. Specifically, you cannot exactly hold or move your social media or email accounts like a painting or television. You often need to know certain information to access these assets. If you have a question about passing down your digital assets, contact the Nashville estate planning lawyers at The Higgins Firm.
Possessing digital assets is a growing trend that shows no signs of slowing down. Many people store their music, pictures, or other information online. Whether the assets contain actual monetary value or merely sentimental value, you as the owner have the ability to choose what should happen to those assets after you are gone. People may want to pass along their Facebook, Twitter, blog, or email accounts to loved ones. Other types of digital assets may include website domain names, online stored documents, online bank accounts, iTunes accounts, or anything similar. The choice to pass on any of these assets should be left up to you.
One of the best ways to pass on your virtual assets is through your will or estate plan. You can choose to specifically grant your heirs access to your digital assets through these legal documents. Designating a digital executor can allow this person to have access to these items. Although this will grant the individual legal authority for access, some user-service agreements and laws may restrict access. Unfortunately, some of these agreements and laws are behind the trend of passing on these digital assets.
When accessing digital assets, you need to know usernames, passwords, or even answers to security questions. While these are obviously needed for security purposes, these requirements often pose a hurdle to passing on any type of digital assets. For this very reason, it is important to keep a master list of any information needed to access your digital assets. Keeping a master list also allows any beneficiary to know exactly what digital assets make up your estate. Without such a list, your loved ones would be left wondering what or where these digital assets are. In addition, it is important to keep such a master list in a safe location like a safe deposit box. You do not want to keep this list within your estate planning documents because these documents could be placed into any probate court filings and thus be open to the public.
If have questions regarding your estate plan or passing on your digital assets, contact the Nashville estate planning attorneys at The Higgins Firm. Our team of lawyers would be happy to answer your questions.