When someone dies in California, their will decides how their physical assets will be distributed. But what about their digital assets? An increasing number of people are neglecting to include digital assets in their wills, ranging from social media profiles to money left in PayPal accounts. And once you’re gone, your family members might never be able to access these assets.
How can you protect your digital assets?
When you start the estate planning process, it’s important to consider all your financial assets, even the ones locked away in online accounts. For example, if you have money sitting in a PayPal or Venmo account, that’s considered a financial asset that could be passed on along with the rest of your estate. But if your family can’t get access to your account, the money might be trapped there.
To ensure that your family can access your assets, make sure you include these accounts in your will along with the usernames and passwords. You can also include instructions to ensure that people who aren’t tech-savvy can still access these funds.
What about social media accounts? If your social media accounts aren’t closed after your death, someone could hack in and start making posts that upset your family members. To prevent this from happening, you can include the usernames and passwords of your social media accounts in your estate plans, with instructions for the accounts to be shut down after your death.
Can an attorney help you protect your digital assets?
Attorneys know the importance of staying on top of modern technology, especially when it comes to estate planning. An attorney could help you organize all your digital information into one document that your family can access after your death. They might also point out accounts that you wouldn’t have thought of.