Digital Assets included in your wills and trusts?

More Wills and Living Trusts Including Digital Assets
Posted by: Bridget Mackay in Estate Planning on May 25, 2011
Tagged in: digita assets

Have you considered your digital assets in your estate planning? New evidence suggests many more people are including digital assets in their Wills and Living Trusts than ever before. Digital assets include the “real estate” you own online, including your social media presence, blogs or websites. If you have a stake in your online presence, you may wish to discuss the benefits of including digital assets in your own Will or Living Trust.
Why Do It?
Like most property you own, those online assets are worth something to you, both as recognition of your accomplishments as well as a valuable piece of property. Anything of worth you own, in any form, should receive some pre-planning guidance. If you were to die, for example, what would happen to your blog? Who would care for your social media presence or even inform your Internet friends of your death?
While many people have a simple presence online, others have a significant online investment to plan for after death. Estate planning can help you to do that, to ensure that your wishes are carried out according to your specific plans. Here are a few things to keep in mind about digital asset planning like this.
Organize all online “real estate” you own or utilize. Include all passwords, website administration panel codes and other identification information.

Designate one person to handle decisions regarding your items.

Make decisions about your social media presence. Do you want your Facebook page to list your death and to become a makeshift memorial? Do you want someone to take it down? How much information do you want the Internet to know about your death?

If you own online businesses, including revenue sharing programs or affiliate projects, document all details of this business. Determine if you want someone to take over these accounts for you or if the businesses should close. You may wish to note how your beneficiaries will divide your business’s income or who will run the business after you are gone.
Who should utilize this type of estate planning? Though anyone can list these details in their Will or Living Trust if they choose to do so, those who have a significant presence online, or those who own larger websites should definitely take steps to outline their specific needs. If you are not sure if this information should be a part of your estate plan, talk to your attorney about it.
Your estate planning attorney can help you to draft a Will or Living Trust that includes your digital products, your digital “real estate” and your wishes. In some cases, you may just want a family member to take over your online sites. If that is the case, make those wishes known ahead of time so as not to shock anyone who may otherwise be unaware of your business or your needs.
As technology continues to interweave with our personal life, it is becoming increasingly important to included digital assets into ones will and living trust.