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Basics of Digital Assets and Estate Planning


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This SlideShare presentation discusses the basics of Digital Assets and Estate Planning.

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Basics of Digital Assets and Estate Planning

  1. 1. Basics of Digital Assets and Estate Planning 1
  2. 2. 2 What are Digital Assets? • Digital assets include information and intangible assets that are stored online • They include all of the following: – Email, social media, and other online accounts (Gmail, Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube) – Digital libraries (iTunes, Dropbox) – Online sales accounts (Amazon, eBay, Craigslist) – Bitcoins or other online currencies – Account withdrawal authorizations for monthly payments (cell phone, utilities, subscriptions)
  3. 3. 3 What is a Digital Estate Plan? • A digital estate plan can take the form of a Last Will and Testament (whether as part of a will governing the rest of the estate or a separate document that deals exclusively with digital assets) • In its most basic form, a digital estate plan can be a list of account login details with website addresses and passwords • Typically, a digital estate plan should permit access to accounts and information that a person intends to be preserved, shared, or destroyed after death • Ideally, the person left in control of digital assets should be technologically capable
  4. 4. 4 Why is Digital Estate Planning Important? • We live in a digital world • By using technology in various aspects of daily living, we are constantly creating digital assets and can expect to leave behind a multitude of digital content when we die – however, these digital assets are often overlooked when it comes to traditional estate planning • Digital assets may or may not be financially valuable, but often carry a sentimental value (for example, family photographs and/or videos)
  5. 5. 5 What Will Happen to Digital Assets Without a Plan? • Even with a digital estate plan, a Court Order may be required in order to gain access • Without a digital estate plan in place, it may be difficult or impossible to gain access to digital assets • The law has not kept up with advances in technology and most American states and Canadian provinces do not yet have legislation in place to assist in granting access to digital assets to surviving loved ones
  6. 6. 6 What Services are Available to Facilitate Digital Estate Planning? • Some email and social media accounts have set up programs to allow users to choose what will happen with their information once they have been notified of the user's death • For example, Facebook's legacy contact option permits a "legacy contact" to post to a user's Timeline and access the user's post history, photographs and other information shared, etc. • Similarly, Google's inactive account manager allows a user to select an automated message to be sent to an individual chosen by the user after a specified period of inactivity • Programs like Assetlock, PasswordBox, SecureSafe, Deathswitch, and Estate Assist have been designed to assist individuals who want to share a digital estate plan with their survivors
  7. 7. 7 Thank you for reading!