With the increasing use of various electronic media to store documents, pictures and personal information; access and maintain accounts; and conduct transactions, it is increasingly important to protect and plan for the use and ownership of your digital estate and your business’ digital assets on your death or disability. To enable your executor, guardian or business successor to access and distribute these assets, you should:
- Inventory your digital estate. Identify the hardware (CDs, DVDs, USB flash drives, IPods, and other equipment), social media outlets, on-line banking and investment accounts, ecommerce transactions, cloud storage and other assets that comprise your digital estate.
- Value your digital estate. Determine the commercial value of your digital assets (i.e. domain names) as well as their sentimental value (i.e. pictures), so your executor, guardian or successor can access, preserve, manage, distribute, delete or sell them when you cannot.
- Collect all data. All usernames, passwords, PINs, account names, subscriptions, fees, service providers, electronic payments and other information needed by your executor, guardian or successor should be assembled and accessible, with a copy or key lodged with your attorney or other trusted person.
- Provide access. Determine who will have access to these accounts and assets and how they will access them on your death, disability or other inability to do so.
- Update your plans. Have your estate documents and succession plans updated to include and provide for the protection and distribution of your digital assets and estate.
- Protect your business. Your business’ digital assets should also be inventoried, assembled and protected; their value included into your business succession plan; and be accessible to your successor.
- Consider on-line storage. Various on-line service providers can store and organize passwords and digital content for you, your estate or your business.
Brooks, Tarulis & Tibble, LLC can counsel and advise you on maintaining and protecting your digital estate and assets, either in connection with your overall estate plan or business succession plan or as a stand alone service. Should you have questions in this regard, please contact us.