How to Protect Your Digital Assets

For most of us, updating our social media, sending emails, and checking our bank accounts online has become second nature and is a daily part of our life. But what happens to all of your accounts if you suddenly pass away? You have a lifetime’s worth of online files and accounts that may become inaccessible which causes more stress for your loved ones. Luckily, there is a way to protect all of these digital assets by including them in your estate plan.  One option is to appoint someone as your online executor who becomes responsible for all of your online content such as your email addresses, Facebook, Twitter and blogs.  Before including your digital assets in your estate plan, there are a couple of steps that need to be taken.

Step 1—Start with an Inventory List

Create an inventory list with all of your relevant files and accounts including passwords in one document. This can be a paper document that is stored with all of your other important documents or in a safe deposit box. Debbie has created a blank inventory list that you can download and use to list your digital assets.

Click here to download the form.

Step 2—Grant Someone You Trust Access

Make sure you specify who will have authorization to access your accounts because the Stored Communications Act of 1986 bars Internet service providers from disclosing personal records to individuals unless the owner of those records grants authorization.

Step 3—Know the Terms of Service

Most people do not take the time to read the terms of service when creating any social media account or installing new software but it’s important that you are aware of and understand the terms of use. Some companies may restrict sharing and transferring of media which can create challenges for digital asset planning.

Once you have taken the time to review all of your digital assets schedule time with an experienced estate planning attorney to ensure you have taken the proper steps to include your digital assets in your estate plan.


Misconceptions About Probate in Texas

The cost of probate will eat up all of the estate assets.  Many estates don’t require probate proceedings. Not all assets owned in the deceased person’s name must go through probate. And if the value of those “probate assets” is small enough, the family can take advantage of probate shortcuts, which is less expensive.

The oldest child is entitled to be the executor of their parent’s estate.  Just because they were always the one in charge doesn’t mean they are automatically the executor. Parents can name anyone as the executor–even the often overlooked middle child.


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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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