What Happens to Your Digital Assets After Death?
When you pass away, it is likely that you have established a comprehensive estate plan delegating your assets to the respective beneficiaries. At least, it is heavily recommended that you create one! While ensuring our physical assets are accounted for is typically more straightforward, have you considered what happens to your digital assets after death?
As our reliance on technology, and storing intangible assets in digital modes, increases, many individuals have extensive digital assets that can be gifted to others. Here, the Bel Air estate planning attorneys at Rodier Family Law provide an overview of what happens to your digital assets after you pass away, and how to properly include instructions in your estate plan to protect them.
What Exactly Are Your Digital Assets?
Before beginning the estate planning process, you may be questioning what digital assets you possess. In general, your digital assets may include the following:
- Social media and email accounts
- Personal media or digital media used as a source of income (photos, videos, music, and more)
- Online finances such as virtual currency or credit card rewards
- Important information and/or documents stored in the Cloud
- Income-generating websites or blogs
- Digital copyrights or trademarks
While this may seem like a substantial and broad amount of digital assets, they can be just as valuable as your physical assets and should be handled accordingly. As freelancing and remote work are becoming more and more common, many individuals find themselves making a full-time income right from their home computer. If you have created your own business or online service, you have the rights to any income generated as a result, and if you want this business to continue after your passing, it is important to delegate responsibility to a trusted beneficiary.
How Does Delegation of Your Digital Assets Work?
After you incorporate your digital assets into a comprehensive estate plan, it is your responsibility to choose who you want to handle matters regarding your digital life after your passing. When choosing one or more executors for your estate plan, consider designating a specific “digital executor” to ensure that your digital assets are properly handled. After you pass, your digital executor will be responsible for managing or removing your social media profiles, pulling digital finances to be delegated to your beneficiaries and maintaining any digital income streams, blogs or services in accordance with your wishes. As you work with professionals, such as the estate planning attorneys at Rodier Family Law, be sure to provide extensive documentation of any passwords and logins in the event that you pass or become incapacitated suddenly. This will provide clarity and streamline the delegation process at a time where your loved ones may be struggling emotionally.
What Are the Benefits of Digital Asset Planning?
When it comes to digital asset planning, incorporating detailed instructions into your estate plan helps ensure your wishes are properly handled. The asset delegation process that your loved ones must go through after your passing can be complex, so providing them with information on the exact way you would like your digital assets handled is essential. Additionally, state and federal laws, such as the Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act of 2015, provide legal protection for your data and electronic finances. Working with qualified estate planners gives you the opportunity to fully understand your rights and have access to additional resources that can help streamline the digital estate planning process so that your work is protected.
Create a Comprehensive Estate Plan With Maryland Attorneys at Rodier Family Law
We understand that the estate planning process can feel overwhelming, and considering your digital assets in the matter can add even more confusion if you are new to the process. Beginning the estate planning process early can provide peace of mind for you and your loved ones, and can also provide clarity on just how detailed your estate plan needs to be. To learn more about Rodier Family Law and see how our team can assist you in your estate planning process, contact our Harford County office today.