What is the total value of your digital assets? It’s probably more than you think. We found a story that offers tips on how to account for all of them so they go to the people you want when you pass on
When you consider how much your digital assets are worth, think about everything you have stored online, on a cloud or on digital devices. Try to list all your digital business data, airline miles, domain names, photos, Tweets, blogs, music in your iTunes, written correspondences and personal records. It can be mind-boggling just to account for them all.
According to one study, the average value of online assets for every Internet user in America is nearly $55,000, says Jamie Hopkins, associate director of the Retirement Income Program at The American College in his new study, “Afterlife in the Cloud: Managing a Digital Estate.”
This estimate may sound high but Hopkins explains digital assets can have an intangible value that people won’t miss until they are gone.
A lot of us know digital asset like photos and videos have sentimental value but many people tend to overlook the fact digital assets play an integral role in the operations and revenue generation of a business. “Business related digital assets should be viewed as any other business asset,” says Hopkins. “Failing to properly manage your digital assets could result in significant financial losses or even result in your business losing all its value.”
Regardless of the value of your digital assets, it’s essential you include them in your estate plan. Here are some tips on getting started:
1. Read the fine print
Digital assets are not always inheritable property; it depends on where they are stored. Copyright protection over your pictures and posts may be limited by the terms of service offered by the online provider. Read the fine print before you sign up for any online account. Remember “any rights you give up in life won’t be recovered in death,” says Laurie Samay with the Palisades Hudson Financial Group.
2. Know the hurdles
To take control of a digital asset, the account name, user name and password are needed. While this protects a person in life, it can be a problem for those you leave behind. The first step is to know where all your account are and under what usernames they were created. Find a way to track all this information.
3. Get organized with a digital estate planning service
Online digital estate planning services are accounts where you can list all your digital assets and indicate what should happen to them if you pass away. Some services will even delete account information upon the user’s death.
4. Come up with a strategy
Take an inventory of your digital assets, decide what you want to preserve and where. Trusts are becoming a popular digital estate planning tools because they don’t always have the strict requirements Wills do. They often allow for easier creation and modification.
Read the story here.