Forbes – Have You Included Your Digital Assets In Your Estate Planning? – Part 1

Why You Should Include Digital Assets in Your Estate PlanningThis interesting piece is from Forbes, enjoy!


“When you sit down and write your will, you’re likely thinking about who should get your house or the heirloom set of china that has been passed down for three generations. It doesn’t occur to most people to include their online or digital data and accounts.


But according to Daniel McLennon, advanced planning attorney for Northwestern Mutual, it’s critical that people plan for their digital assets in their estate plans because more of the things we consider to be valuable are moving to a digital format.


McLennon, for example, stores all his family photos online and included them in his will because he doesn’t want his family to lose them should something happen to him.


“If you upload things like photos onto an online drive, your family might not know where they are or be able to access them when you die,” McLennon said. “These types of digital assets are extremely important to families, and losing them could be devastating.”


Digital assets that you might want to plan for could include Facebook accounts or cloud services that store files or family photos that are valuable for sentimental reasons, but these assets might also include things that have a financial value, like online businesses or Paypal accounts with money in them. One digital asset that McLennon believes is important to include in an estate plan is your email account since it often has a functional value to your estate in addition to any sentimental value it might have.


“Email accounts are critical to plan for since more companies are now paperless,” McLennon said, “and so things like bills or insurance policies are often being sent out via email. An executor working to wrap up someone’s final affairs could need access to his or her email in order to close all the accounts.”


When it comes to planning for your digital assets, McLennon suggests three steps to take in order to ensure your digital assets will be dispersed and used according to your wishes.”