Beyond the tangible assets inyour life that you feel should be protected by your estate plan, have youconsidered the not-so-tangible assets as well? Your virtual or digital assetsneed protected too. And unfortunatelythere aren't clearly defined legal steps to take for the management of one'sdigital estate in the event of incapacity or death.
Since it would seem only logical(let alone practical) to make legal plans for the management and succession ofour digital estates, what is one to do without a clearly defined body of law onthe subject?
There is a patchwork of laws insome places, and some services have thought ahead to help those planning theirestates. Nevertheless, the burden inevitably falls on the planners and theirloved ones to really come to terms with those important digital assets, whetherpersonal (a Facebook account) or downright valuable (a bank account or even aregistered domain name).
The first step in planning yourdigital estate is to recognize the need. Thereafter, consider the followingfour step process outlined in a recent Morningstararticle aptly titled â€œDo You Have a Plan for Your Digital'Estate'?â€:
- Doa fire drill: if you lose your electronic assets, or if someone takes themaway, or if a loved one can never lose them again (and so on and so forth),then what is lost? What would I want a loved one to have access to?
- Takean inventory: list it out, [securely] document the passwords, and make yourheirs aware of your inventory.
- Backit up: create a backup of any digital assets you can, whether cloud based,locally stored, or otherwise.
- Putyour plan into writing: if it is not written down and available then it is nota plan at all, but rather a hope, and all the more so with digital assets thatdo not have common law precedents to guide your heirs.
For more information on this and otherestate planning subjects, contact IdahoEstate Planning and schedule aconsultation. Remember,good planning is no accident.