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Your Cyber Legacy: 3 Tips for Your Digital Assets

Posted by Jim Foster | Oct 26, 2020 | 0 Comments

There's an entire category of your legacy that is commonly overlooked and worth considering – your digital assets.  Don't worry if you didn't factor in these assets when you made your will or trust.  It's surprisingly common and, luckily, easy to correct.

What are digital assets?  They include:

  • your photos (yes, all those selfies are a digital asset)
  • files stored in the cloud or on your local computer
  • virtual currency accounts
  • URLs
  • social media profiles (Facebook, LinkedIn, etc.)
  • device backups
  • databases
  • digital business documents
  • the many other accounts that will be added as technology evolves in the coming months and years
Women looking at phone.

These assets can have real value, particularly virtual currency accounts, URLs, or digital business assets.  So, you can no longer adopt a wait-and-see approach for these assets.  Whether you proactively plan or not, your legacy now includes more than the tangible inheritance you want to pass along through family heirlooms and general assets.  You now have a cyber legacy to consider.

Here are three tips to get you started:  

  1. Inventory your digital assets.

Make a list of every online account you use.  If you run a business, don't forget spreadsheets, digital records, client files, databases, and other digital business documents.  If any accounts or records exist in cyberspace, put them on the list for your attorney and executor. 

  1. Designate a cyber successor.

A cyber successor is someone you trust who can access your accounts and perform business on your behalf after you are gone or in the event you are incapacitated.  This person can be the same person designated as your general durable power of attorney – just make sure they can access your accounts in a timely manner.  Safeguard your list, so that it doesn't end up being vulnerable to unauthorized access, identity theft, or data loss.

  1. Determine the necessary documents for your estate and make a record of your wishes.

You may want to put some of your digital assets into a trust or even include specific access in a power of attorney.  Consult with an estate planning attorney to determine the best way to decide your successors, trustees, and beneficiaries, and then make sure the right documents or designations are in place so access can be made when it's needed.  The laws in this arena are evolving, so any planning you've done in the past may well need an update.

Potential Pitfalls of Cyber Estate Planning

The worst thing you can do is nothing.  This could result in the loss of digital family photo albums, disruption of your business if you're incapacitated, or worse.  If this process feels daunting or you're still not sure where or how to start, give us a call.  We can help you identify and protect your digital assets to help give you peace of mind.  Contact us today.

Read More

What is Estate Planning?
Estate Planning Basics & Benefits
Wills v. Trusts:  How do I know what I need?
The Probate Process:  A Key Element in Deciding Between a Will and Trust
Trust-Based Estate Plans


Posted by Jim Foster

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Jim Foster

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