Digital Asset Series Part I: What are Digital Assets?

As little as 25 years ago, digital assets were only talked about by those immersed in the emerging tech world. Today most people have smart phones that allow us to access our e-mail wherever we are, online sites to upload our photos to share them with family near and far and a slew of social media sites so that we can stay connected and voice opinions with the those all around the globe. Your e-mails, photos, Facebook and Twitter accounts are all digital assets. You own those items, or own a license to use them, and they have a value at least to you and potentially to others. As important as these assets are to our lives, they are often overlooked in the estate planning process, but you can and should include these in your estate plan.

I’ve listed some examples of digital assets, but what exactly is a digital asset? A digital asset is any text, images, multimedia information or personal property stored in a digital format.  Digital assets are also licenses to use software or social medial platforms.  Digital assets can be frequent flyer miles, credit card points, hotel points or any other  “earned” right that can be exchanged for another item of value.  Digital assets can be URL’s, email addresses, passwords to bank accounts, credit card accounts or other service accounts.  These definitions do not encompass the totality of what a digital asset can be.  With such a broad definition, what kind of estate planning technique, or even techniques, are able to give you the ability to pass your digital assets down to your beneficiaries?  The answer to this depends in part of what type of assets you own.

The first step is to identify your digital assets. This is both as simple and as hard as listing all the relevant information for each of your digital assets. You can download a digital asset inventory worksheet here. This will help you get started on identifying and planning for your digital assets.

Different types of assets may have different rules for estate planning purposes. The next few blogs will identify the different types of digital assets and how they can be incorporated into an estate plan. If you have not incorporated your digital assets into your estate plan, or if you have yet to create an estate plan, contact a qualified estate planning attorney to help you create a comprehensive estate plan that benefits your family and your life.

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Law Offices of Debbie J. Cunningham

Debbie Cunningham is an Irving attorney providing affordable estate planning to the Dallas/ Fort-Worth areas. She understands the steps you should take to protect yourself and your loved ones. Debbie is family-focused and wants to ensure her clients are fully informed on the options that are available for their families. Debbie’s own blended family has given her valuable insights into the complexities of family dynamics.

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