Are You Protecting Your Digital Assets?

We often talk about estate planning in our conversations and review meetings, but one area of estate planning that is becoming increasingly important is the protection of your digital assets.

Have you considered your digital assets when working on your estate plan?

Do you know how much your digital assets are worth?

A digital asset is anything you can access either online or via a device such as your computer, tablet or phone. Essentially, it is information you store electronically. These assets range from sentimental (social networking accounts and digital photo galleries) to financial related digital assets (electronic tax returns and online banking information) to tangible digital assets (music and apps) that have a retail value.

Why care about digital property?

Maintaining our personal and financial information on the internet has become a normal way of life for many of us. As such, we often forget about not only the monetary value but the sentimental value associated with our digital property.

Few people maintain physical photo albums any longer so what would happen if you became disabled or passed away and your family was unable to access your Shutterfly account? We strongly encourage you to develop and maintain a current list of digital property, as well as the security passwords and/or encryptions necessary to access such assets.

You could also consider a digitally stored inventory of your usernames and passwords, secured by one master password or encryption by using a software program such as KeePass Password Safe or RoboForm. There are many options available to you, so consider your own comfort and research before choosing a solution.

Won’t my family become the owners of my digital assets?

According to Everplans, “almost all 50 states have passed laws that give a person’s family (or Executor) the right to access and manage digital assets after they die.” The Uniform Law Commission drafted the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act (RUFADAA), which addresses the desire of families to have access to their loved one’s digital assets after their death and the Act is meant to govern this access.

We have prepared this Digital Asset Information worksheet for you to help create an information guide to access these accounts in the event you are no longer able to share this information with others.

If you have worked with an attorney to develop your estate plans and did not include digital asset information, now would be a good time to prepare the worksheet and make sure it gets included with your current estate planning documents.

Everyone deserves the confidence of knowing that their assets are protected. If you have not started the estate planning process or have not incorporated your digital assets into your estate planning, start now. Digital assets are added daily and it is up to you to protect your assets.

Please remember that different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product made reference to directly or indirectly in this content, will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), or be suitable for you or your portfolio. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter (article) serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Searcy Financial Services, Inc.

The content of this letter does not constitute a tax or legal opinion. Always consult with a competent professional service provider for advice on tax or legal matters specific to your situation. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed in this content, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.  

Published for the blog on February 27, 2019 by Searcy Financial Services, your Overland Park, Kansas Fee-Only Financial Planner and Investment Manager.