Wills, Trusts & Estates Prof Blog

Editor: Gerry W. Beyer
Texas Tech Univ. School of Law

Friday, March 31, 2023

What Happens to Your Digital Properties After You Die?

DigitalassetsDigital assets have become increasingly popular in the last decade. With proper planning, beneficiaries of digital assets will be able to avoid the difficult process of trying to track down passwords through legal channels to gain access, which can sometimes render the property irretrievable for years or, worse, permanently lost.

Because digital assets are not tangible, it can be easy to overlook them in planning. "In reviewing established documents, it's amazing how few have been updated to include digital assets," says John Campbell, East region head of wealth planning for U.S. Bank Private Wealth Management.

It's essential to start with an inventory. This should include more than just assets with monetary value like intellectual property or cryptocurrencies but also include items like photos, videos, emails, and letters with sentimental value.

Another consideration that needs to be addressed is determining what happens to digital accounts like Facebook, LinkedIn, or email accounts. For example, proper language in an estate plan can override user agreements to help family members access passwords.

For more information see Karen Hube, What Happens to Your Digital Properties After You Die?, PENTA, March 23, 2023.

Special thanks to Joel C. Dobris (Professor of Law, UC Davis School of Law) for bringing this article to my attention.


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