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What are digital assets?

Digital asset is a term that has been increasingly discussed within the estate planning community in the past decade and with good reason.  Any person who has established online accounts or has created digital content has digital assets.  Think of them as the virtual form of your physical life.  Bank accounts, social media, photos, videos, and cloud-based storage - any content you create electronically becomes a digital asset. 

So why are estate planning attorneys concerned with this area of your life? Bank accounts are relatively self-explanatory because they deal directly with money, but what about the other digital content you are creating?  Your social media accounts, Flickr account, and any other cloud-based storage account falls under the category of personal property -digital personal property. The digital life is another link to you for your loved ones. Planning ahead helps to ensure that they can access that link to your life, which is important to them, especially since physical photographs are no longer the norm. The barriers to accessing digital assets after the passing of a loved one takes more than driving to their house and collecting memorabilia and sentimental items; it usually takes a lawyer and paperwork to gain access to those accounts, unless you plan ahead.

Next week I will discuss the large issue estate planning attorneys face with digital assets. Until them, consider your electronic life and the parts of your life your family would want to preserve.

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