Does Your Estate Plan Address Your Digital Assets?

Each day new technology is introduced and adopted into our daily lives. For example, it is hard to imagine that the iPhone® was first introduced to us in 2007. Five years later, most of us have either adopted it, or a like android cellular phone, into our daily lives.

This should make you wonder what other technology have you adopted into your daily lives:

Facebook®, Twitter®, MySpace® and other like social media websites;
LinkedIn® and other professional media websites;
iTunes® and other digital media online retail accounts;
GMAIL® and like e-mail accounts,
Flickr® and other like photo websites
Online bank accounts;
Online trading accounts;
Online medical accounts;
Online insurance accounts.

With all of these digital assets incorporated into your daily life, you should quickly realize that you do embrace technology, and that it is highly certain that you will continue to do so in the future.

This should also make you realize that your digital assets should be incorporated into your family trust and estate plan. One of the most important aspects of estate planning is to tell your loved ones where to find your assets. In our digital world, we are accruing a large volume of digital assets that we should address in our estate plan. Otherwise, your digital assets may be permanently deleted or frozen. For example:

Facebook® is the most popular social media website today. Did you know that upon your death, Facebook will not provide your login information to your account to anyone.

eTrade® is one of the most popular online trading websites. Did you know that when you open an eTrade account, you are required to notify eTrade immediately upon your death. Otherwise, eTrade may freeze your account.

Gmail is one of the most popular free email accounts. Did you know that it is Google’s policy to rarely grant access to a deceased person’s Gmail account.

Flickr® is the most popular photo sharing website. Did you know that upon your death, Flickr can immediately delete your account and all of your photos.

If you are like most people, you have at least one of the above accounts. After reading this article, you know that you need to discuss your digital assets with a family wealth lawyer who is aware of these digital legacy issues so that your loved ones will not be at a lost upon your death. In today’s digital evolution, your estate plan must now include your user names and passwords to all of your digital assets. Otherwise, as noted above, most companies will not share your user name and passwords to your loved ones after your death. If you do not address your digital assets in your estate plan, then your digital assets may be frozen, and in some circumstances, deleted permanently.

If you do not have an estate plan, addressing your digital assets should be one of your many priorities when implementing it. If you already have an estate plan, then it probably does not address your digital assets. Under either scenario, we can assist you in addressing your digital assets into your family wealth plan. We draft custom documents for you and do not use outdated forms like traditional estate planning attorneys. Use this opportunity to ensure that your family can locate and access all of your digital assets, including your online bank, credit-card and investment accounts, important documents, such as your will, websites and blogs you use, online bills, email accounts and business documents. Call our office today to schedule a Family Wealth Planning Session, and if you mention this article by name, we will waive our customary fee. Call (919) 468-3266 or email For additional information on this topic as well as other related topics, please visit, and