Can you identify your digital assets? Could someone else in your place? Have you considered your digital legacy? By definition, digitial assets include digitally stored content and online accounts owned by an individual. Within just a few years, the value and importance of digital assets have soared.
Why are digital assets important?
- Financial Value – Think Paypal/Venmo/Square accounts, domain names.
- Sentimental Value – Email, Photos on a smart phone, flash dirve, or social networking account.
- Privacy & Confidentiality – Sensitive information regarding relationships or interests.
- Identity Theft – Unmonitored accounts have increased risk of identity theft.
What can you do?
- Prepare an inventory – hardware + online accounts: where to find, how to access, etc.
- Provide a summary – what is the important information on/accessed by your assets?
- Create a list of the computer programs – provide directions on how to access & what to do with the information.
- Note which assets must be preserved – and those to be deleted/closed
- Establish a mechanism for your agent to access your digital assets – think password management.
- Appoint a fiduciary (your representative) and make sure your planning docuements expressly give your fiduciary the ability to access and manage your digital assets!
Where can I get help?
The information we bring you this month is from STEP, a global professional association for practitioners who specialize in family inheritance and succession planning. STEP’s Digital Asset Working Group was established in recognition of the emerging issues related to planning for and administering the digital assets of individuals after the individual dies or loses capacity. We encourage both our professional colleagues and clients to check them out! You can download their digital assets guide here.
Of course, Santa Barbara Fiduciary is your local expert in implementation.