Don't Forget to Include Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan


When most of us think about estate planning, we think about handling the distribution of physical assets like our financial accounts, real estate, jewelry, and collectibles. However, in today's high-tech society, our digital assets can be just as important.

As part of your estate plan, someone you trust should have the login information for all of your online accounts. This includes your email and social media accounts like Facebook, as well as Dropbox or Flickr accounts full of personal photos and any videos you've uploaded on YouTube. Although the monetary value of these items is probably minimal, they will be of great sentimental value to your loved ones after your passing. This information can also be used to make sure that all online contacts learn of your passing in a timely manner.

If you have a blog or website, you will need to think about whether you wish to have this content remain active after your death. If so, you will need to provide instructions for how to contact the web hosting service provider as well as the funds needed to ensure the site is properly maintained.

In addition to including information about your online social activities, you should also include information for any online financial services you use--especially if you're a frequent online bill payer and are no longer receiving paper statements for certain accounts. When there's no paper trail, it's next to impossible for those left to put your affairs in order to figure out if an account has been missed.

The correct ownership of purchased digital items, such as iTunes songs and Kindle or Nook e-books, has been widely debated. You must read the terms of service for each account you are interested in to determine if the account itself is transferable. If the account itself is not transferable, your heirs are not allowed to access the account in order to download any previously purchased files.

How Can We Help?

If you are in need of assistance creating an estate plan, please call our office at (626) 683-8113 or email us at Our Pasadena estate planning attorneys can help you create a plan that best addresses your specific needs.