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What is a digital asset?
A digital asset is an online record that a person owns. Online records can contain several different types of content, ranging from a blog on exercising to an online rewards program. If you do not plan for the control, distribution, and access of your digital assets, they can get wasted or fall into the wrong hands. When reviewing estate planning and what assets you wish to protect, there are some categories you will want to be sure you recognize:
- Online rewards programs: As numerous companies have shifted their goods and services online, they have also constructed online rewards programs for customers. These kinds of programs often award returning customers with points, cashback, or discounts. In some instances, these rewards can become valuable enough to earn being noted in an estate plan.
- Financial accounts: Most banks now allow their clients to complete bank transactions online. Some banks are also partnered with digital payment systems, such as PayPal or Zelle, that permit clients to complete online money transfers. Both bank accounts and online payment services are considered financial accounts and should be integrated into an estate plan.
- Electronic communications: A person has on average at least five social media accounts that they use daily. Even though it is unlikely that a person’s Facebook or Twitter account might yield any monetary worth, it is essential to include these and other electronic communications in an estate plan so they can be properly distributed.
- Digital collections: Any photographs, videos, or music files that are digitized are included in digital assets. Even though they may not hold any financial value, they likely carry sentimental value, which should be noted in an estate plan.
How do I protect my digital estate?
If you are one of the many individuals who use online services, it is critical that you put an inventory together of the various accounts you own, in addition to their access information (username, password, secret questions, etc.). You will want to specify how you want your digital assets handled and distributed. Furthermore, you will need to appoint someone to act as a digital executor. This individual will have permitted access to your online accounts and control the management and distribution of your digital assets.
In order to ensure that you have organized your digital assets for the future, it is in your best interest to speak with a qualified attorney today. Our legal team is ready to walk you through this process.
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Whether you are dealing with matters involving estate planning, estate administration, or elder law, you need a legal team that you can feel confident will represent your best interests, every step of the way. We are that legal team. Contact Heritage Elder Law & Estate Planning today so we can get started.