If you are in the process of writing your will, you may not realize that you have more than one estate. That is to say, you have your physical estate with your physical assets, but you also have a digital estate. Everyone who owns a computer or smartphone has some value in digital assets, and your online footprint may be bigger than you think. If you are interested in learning more about your digital estate, here are some questions you may have:
What are digital assets?
If you have experience on a computer or any other technology of the sort, then you most likely have certain files or data that you would like to preserve, and certain data you would like to delete. Here are some of the digital assets you may have:
- Intellectual property, such as patents, copyrighted material, trade secrets, or any other code you may have written and own
- Online accounts, such as email accounts, online shopping accounts, social media accounts, and blogs or websites you have either created or contributed to
- Physical computing hardware, such as iPhones, digital cameras, computers themselves, external hard drives, flash drives, digital music players and more
- Domain names
- Any information that is stored on a cloud, online, or on any of the physical devices mentioned above
Once you have gathered and established all your digital assets, you must next appoint your digital executor. Your digital executor will carry out your wishes regarding your digital assets accordingly. You must provide your digital executor with all of your logins and passwords so he or she may access this information, so ensure you appoint somebody you trust.
How may my digital estate benefit my family?
If your digital assets have any financial value, it may need to be reported or submitted to probate. Additionally, by creating a digital estate plan, you help avoid online identity theft, and you may also grant your family easy access to important information that may help them settle your estate.
How may I protect my digital assets?
Luckily, there are several ways in which you may protect your digital assets. The most secure way to protect your digital assets is storing them with a trustworthy attorney who understands the importance of keeping your digital assets safe. However, you may also wish to place your digital assets in an online storage service. If you have physical digital assets, you may wish to store them in a locked safe or file cabinet and give the code or key to your digital executor.
Contact our New Jersey firm
The law firm of Mattleman, Weinroth & Miller, P.C., is composed of experienced defense attorneys throughout the state of New Jersey. Please contact the office for a free initial consultation and get any questions answered regarding criminal charges and procedures.