Digital Asset Tips to Your Cyber Legacy
An entire category of commonly-overlooked legacies has emerged over the past 15 years – digital assets. Your cyber legacy includes your digital assets. While you may not include domain addresses among your most prized possessions, you could be surprised. Consider, for example, the domain name LasVegas.com, which is worth $90 million. CarInsurance.com is valued at nearly $50 million and Internet.com is worth an estimated 18 million dollars. But even if you failed to invest in this type of domain name, your online properties have value.
- Files stored in the cloud, on your phone, tablet or desktop computer
- Virtual currency accounts,
- Domain Names
- Social media profiles (such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+.)
- Backups of your devices
- Business documents
- More to come
These assets can possess real value, (such as virtual currency accounts, a URL, or digital business assets) or can be valuable simply because they belong to you. Either way, you can no longer afford a “wait-and-see approach” for these assets. Whether you proactively plan or not, your legacy includes more than cash and securities. If you are living any part of your life in the virtual world, don’t forget to pass your digital assets along to family members, along with heirlooms and general assets.
Three tips about Digital Assets
- Inventory digital assets. Make a list of every online account you use. If you run a business, include spreadsheets, digital records, client files, databases, and other digital business documents. In fact, if you are an entrepreneur, this information should be included in your business succession plan. Anything that belongs to you in cyberspace should be included on the list you give your attorney and executor.
- Designate a cyber successor. A cyber successor is a person you trust who can access your accounts and perform business on your behalf after you are gone, or in the event you are incapacitated. Make sure your successor is given ready access to your accounts. Safeguard the list, so it won’t end up being vulnerable to unauthorized access, identity theft, data loss, or worse.
- Record your wishes. You may want to include some of your digital assets in a trust or might even include specific access in Power of Attorney documents. Consult with an estate planning attorney to determine the best way to determine your successors, trustees, and beneficiaries, and then make sure the proper documents and designations are in place so access can be granted when needed. The laws in this arena are evolving, so previous planning you’ve likely needs an update.
Potential Pitfalls of Cyber Estate Planning
Although this field is relatively new, don’t make the mistake of hesitating. This could result in the loss of digital family photo albums or disruption of your business if you’re incapacitated. If the process is daunting and you’re not sure where to start, give us a call. We can help you identify, track, and protect your digital assets to give you peace of mind.
Whatever your circumstances, rest assured that the legal professionals at Skvarna Law can help you to determine the best way to handle your trust. Skvarna Law Firm operates offices in Glendora and Upland, California and provides legal services for individuals living in San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside Counties. This includes the cities of Upland, Ontario, Rancho Cucamonga, Fontana, Colton, Rialto, Chino, Chino Hills, Glendora, Claremont, Montclair, Pomona, La Verne, San Dimas, Azusa, Covina, West Covina, Diamond Bar, Walnut, La Puente, Corona, Norco & Mira Loma. Visit SkvarnaLaw.com to learn more.