digital asset iconToday, it is not uncommon to find that most people are online a few times throughout the day. By spending more time online, people develop a whole host of digital assets. But, what will happen to those assets upon a person’s death? Unfortunately, estate law is slowly catching up to the fact that people have assets that are not physical – from social media profiles to photos stored online, and even business files.

When a person dies, what happens to his or her digital assets? Estate laws for the state of Florida have not quite understood the digital asset need, and there are things that you must do to protect your assets – never rely on the courts to do it for you.

Password Protection and Establishment of an Estate Plan

The biggest issue with digital assets is that most of the content is password protected; therefore, loved ones couldn’t access or save that information even if they wanted to. While digital asset protection is designed to protect your privacy, it becomes difficult for an executor to protect your digital assets. They cannot give heirs access to your digital assets if they cannot access them themselves. Also, assets are often subject to the terms and conditions, as well as the privacy policy, of the website where they are hosted.

What Are Digital Assets?

Digital assets come in many forms, but are intangible (not in physical form). They can include things like:

  • Email accounts
  • Subscriptions
  • Music and videos stored on computers or online
  • Pictures and documents stored on computers or online
  • Gaming systems and accounts
  • Social media accounts

More assets for consumers will quickly become digital as technology further advances. In fact, for some, there is a plethora of digital assets already out there – and none of them are mentioned in a person’s estate plan.

Can You Plan for Digital Assets?

It is difficult to specifically plan for digital assets, because every online company will have their own terms and conditions that must be met by you and your executor. Some will not allow anyone to access your account. Others will allow you to create a legacy – such as naming a family member – that could access your account on your behalf if you are injured or pass away.

Speak with an Estate Planning Attorney

The best way to protect your digital assets is to speak to an estate planning attorney. An attorney can assess what state laws apply to your digital assets, and draft a will that addresses them. They can also help you gather the necessary account information (including login credentials), so that your executor will have access to your digital assets upon your death.

To explore your options for digital assets, contact the attorneys at Beller & Bustamante, P.L. We are more than happy to discuss options for tangible and intangible assets, and go over how you can protect your loved ones. Schedule a consultation today at 904-288-4414 or request your consultation online.