Estate Planning and Your Digital AssetsFebruary 23rd, 2016 by Anchor Bay Capital's Investment Team
If something were to happen to you today, what would happen to your e-book collection? Your Facebook and Twitter accounts? Do you know how much your Paypal account is worth? What about all those tunes you’ve stored on your cloud drive? Treasured e-mails from a loved one? All of the family photos you have stored online?
Welcome to the world of digital assets. It’s a growing part of financial planning and estate planning that simply wasn’t relevant 10 years ago. But today, it’s crucial that we manage and protect our digital assets because of the growing amount of information and valuables – e-mails, music, images and much more – that are stored online. Not only are these items often among the most precious to you and your loved ones, but they can also make up a valuable portion of your personal property.
Planning for digital assets is similar to planning for tangible assets. It starts with an inventory and a discussion about what to do with the assets when you are gone.
If you want your family to have access to your accounts, you’ll want to keep a record of sites and passwords. Keep it in your safe along with your other personal and financial documents. You can also use a service that stores your passwords to various accounts and provides you with one secure login. Of course, if you don’t want anyone to gain access to your online assets after you are gone, that’s fine, too. Just let your family know that now. But if you do want them to be able to have access, you’ll want to make it easy for them.
Did you know that in the event of your death, your family isn’t automatically entitled to retrieve your passwords and gain access to your accounts? Each website has its own rules regarding accounts of those who are deceased. If you choose to make your passwords available to someone you trust, ultimately it will give your family more options.
Regarding your social media accounts, you may want to think about what to do with them over the long term. Do you want your family to delete them? Turn them into memorial accounts? It is worth a discussion to make your desires known to your loved ones.
At Anchor Bay Capital we utilize an online storage vault for our client’s financial plans. This can be a very useful tool in collaborating with family members, trustees, and other important advisors. It is a great way to include the necessary people in planning decisions and make sure that those decisions are stored digitally in case they need to be accessed in the event of a loss or emergency.
If you have never thought about this increasingly important part of financial planning, you may want to take a second and consider what you can do to preserve your online legacy.[grwebform url=”https://app.getresponse.com/view_webform_v2.js?u=BOdmh&webforms_id=3594105″ css=”on” center=”off” center_margin=”200″/]