The California Legislature handed millions of social networking users a huge victory by providing a clear and consistent method for digital assets and content of emails to pass to the next generation after the user has died. This issue has been a major problem for families who just want access to the pictures that their loved one locked on her iPhone or to shut down a Facebook profile to prevent identity theft.
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.
Estate planning is much more than just drafting a will or moving assets into a trust. Of course, those are very important parts of the process, but there are many additional aspects of a comprehensive estate plan.
Your life is about to change. You are both excited and nervous. Having a baby is a lot of responsibility. Becoming a mom is something that you have always wanted. You've plotted out the nursery. You have a running list of baby names that you have narrowed down. Loved ones have slowly stocked you up on adorable onesies and soft blankets.
A high school teacher who herself taught a class in personal finances once confessed that she did not have a will filed, did not know what would become of her house if she got sick, and wasn't really tracking her retirement funds.
Estate plans are not to be taken lightly. They control where your assets go or what should happen to you and/or your children if a tragedy occurs. Because your wishes depend so heavily on an estate plan, you need to make sure you complete the documents correctly. Otherwise, your property could be distributed or handled in a way that you would never have chosen.