Do you use electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, or computers? If so, you may have digital assets to protect. What happens to these assets when you die or become incapacitated? To protect your digital assets during these unforeseen events, ensure your estate plan includes them. You should speak with an estate planning attorney in Ridgeland on this matter.
What are Considered Digital Assets?
Digital assets include data stored in electronic devices or in cloud accounts. Also, they include information in accounts that can be accessed online using a password. These assets include more than just photos and videos. Apart from files in a cloud account or your computer, digital assets include financial accounts, email accounts, reward accounts, social media accounts, and shopping accounts.
How Digital Asserts Can Be Distributed When You Die?
Should you die, the digital assets you own don’t automatically transfer to a designated beneficiary or heir. Access to a lot of accounts online is limited to you, depending on your website’s Terms of Services, which tends to vary by site.
Although the law offers access to digital assets for some fiduciaries, such fiduciaries should be properly designated in order for the law to apply. It is imperative to address your digital assets in the estate plan instead of depending on the law to offer access when you are no longer around to do it.
Reasons to Protect Your Digital Assets
Digital assets in an estate plan must be protected for several reasons. When you become terminally ill or die, your online presence still exists. This exposes your accounts and files to hacking. When a file or account has value, hackers may access and steal it. If nobody has access to the file or account, your valuable information cannot be protected.
Additionally, you may be concerned about who gets your digital assets. Videos and photos of you and your family are important. However, you may want somebody to continue a website, social media account, or blog that you maintain.
You should also address your digital assets in an estate plan to offer an agent, through a power of attorney, or personal representative immediate access to them. Without such authorization from you, this access becomes hard.
Lastly, digital assets can impact estate administration in many ways. For instance, if you own significant assets, their value alone may be more than the limit of $75, 000 for avoiding probate. If this is the case, this fact should be taken into account in your estate plan.