A Plan for your Digital Assets

A Plan for your Digital AssetsThese days, mostly everyone lives part of their life online.  Whether you pay bills online, manage your bank account, or just email or other social connections.  The unfortunate reality is that most people forget to consider online aspects of estate planning.  And most states do not have clear laws about inheriting virtual effects.

When you begin to think about physical assets like your home, car and other property, it is important to consider assets that you have online.  What about pictures and documents that you keep in cloud-based storage?  What about material that you have posted on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account?  What about your online banking account, investment accounts or other financial data?

The first step is to take an inventory of your digital assets.  Write down what accounts or memberships you have that could be inherited or need to be cancelled.  List all pertinent data like passwords, account numbers, user names, and any other information that will help beneficiaries access your information.

This list should not be left out in the open.  But the downside of keeping it in a safety deposit box is that the list will need to be updated every time a password changes.  There are also online services that offer to keep your passwords in one place, which would be easier to update when necessary.

The second step is to designate an executor of your digital assets.  This can be the same person who takes care of your physical assets or it could be someone else.  In some cases, the digital assets might be better suited to be controlled by two different people, like your spouse for personal sites and your business partner for the online presence of your business.

The most valuable advice that can be given about estate planning is to not waste any time you have.  Contact a knowledgeable estate planning attorney in DuPage County to start protecting the assets for your children and grandchildren.