Owning digital property has become increasingly common in today’s society. If you are one of the many people who owns digital assets, it is critical to understand that estate planning should be performed for these valuables in the same way that it would for tangible items.
Obstacles involved with Estate Planning
Even though digital property is similar to other types of property, there are some unique challenges involving digital property when estate planning is involved. Some of the most common issues involved with obtaining access to these assets include the following:
- Criminal laws. A countless number of federal and state laws prohibit unauthorized access to computer systems as well as personal data. While these laws are designed to combat against fraud, they can also make it very difficult for people access a deceased individual’s digital assets.
- Data encryption. Digitally stored assets may be encrypted, which creates another challenge in accessing this information. If a deceased individual has older data encrypted information, it is possible that they may not be capable of being access by that person’s surviving loved ones.
- Data privacy laws. Federal privacy laws prohibit online service providers from providing details about electronic accounts to anyone other than the account’s owner.
- Passwords. If a person is not aware of your passwords, they might not be able to access your digital assets following your death. While it is possible to bypass some passwords, this is not always true.
Strategies to Successfully Estate Plan for Digital Assets
The best way to avoid these numerous digital asset obstacles is to perform successful estate planning. Some of the best ways to perform strong estate planning include the following:
- Make a list of your digital assets so that your loved ones understand what you own as well as where the information can be accessed. While creating this list, you should make sure to include all of your passwords. This list should then be laced in a secure location where it can be easily accessed.
- It is critical to make sure that you understand what it is that you exactly owns. Some individuals might believe that they purchased a digital assets, but later discover that they only purchased a license to use the asset.
- Never rely on the cloud to perform successfully back up. Instead, it is a wise idea to back up your data to a personal storage device.
- In an estate planning document, make sure to clarify that fiduciaries are allowed to reset, recover, or even bypasswords.
Speak with an Experienced Estate Planning Attorney
Estate planning for digital assets has the potential to particularly complex. One of the reasons this subject is complicated is that the laws regarding digital assets are constantly changing. If you are interested in performing this type of estate planning, you should not hesitate to speak with an experienced attorney. Contact Ettinger Law Firm today to schedule a free initial consultation. We have helped numerous people successfully navigate estate planning issues and understand the numerous complex issues that arise when digital assets are involved.