If you think the terms “digital estate” and “digital assets” sound foreign, you are not alone. Until recently, most people did not even worry about how to include their digital assets in their estate plan because they did not have one. Today, however, even the average American owns digital property. As the world moves to computing in the clouds, we will all have more digital property in the years to come–all of which needs to be included in your estate plan.
In case you think you don’t have any digital property, think again. How do you communicate with friends, family and co-workers? How do you pay your bills and check your investments? Where are your wedding pictures stored? The answer to most of these questions is likely on a computer. All of that information makes up your digital estate.
If you died tomorrow, how would anyone access your financial information? What about your social media accounts like Facebook? Without the right to do so given to them in your estate plan, your representatives may not be able to access any of it. State laws are just now trying to catch up with the digital revolution by creating laws that deal with ownership of digital property after the death of a decedent. As of today, California’s legislative response has been slow and incomplete forcing too many folks to have to resort to the court system to get access to a departed loved one’s digital estate.
Stay ahead of the curve by talking to an experienced and qualified estate planning attorney about including your digital assets in your estate plan.