Saturday, October 1, 2016

Including Digital Assets In Your Wisconsin Estate Planning

Making a Plan for Your Digital Assets

According to an old 2011 McAfee study, on average, Americans value the digital assets they own across multiple digital devices at approximately $55,000.  As technology races forward, I'm sure that number has grown exponentially.  Unfortunately, a vast majority of us have not planned for what happens to these assets after we’re gone. 

Estate planning for digital assets is growing as fast as technology, and involves issues of security, privacy and legacy planning.  Wisconsin finally passed a new law in 2016 to provide access to limited digital assets by a personal representative, but it doesn't cover everything. For planning purposes, digital assets can include:

•    Email accounts
•    Photos
•    Documents and files
•    Websites and blogs
•    Social networking accounts
•    Music and books
•    Online shopping accounts
•    Banking and bill pay accounts

Practical issues that should be considered when planning for the disposition of digital assets include:

•    Who will access and control the accounts following your death
•    How your executor or agent will get access 
•    How your digital assets can be transferred to beneficiaries if desired
•    How fiduciaries will know where to find all the information on your digital assets

There are two steps you should take to protect your digital assets, with the guidance of a Personal Family Lawyer®:

Inventory digital assets.  Make a list of all your accounts and assets, including user names and passwords, answers to security questions and any other necessary information that will allow your executor or fiduciary to access the information. 

Include digital assets in your Wisconsin estate plan.  Include specific enabling provisions in your estate plan that covers the management and disposition of all of your digital assets if you become incapacitated or die.  

If you would like to discover the difference a comprehensive plan can make in protecting your family and your wealth, give us call.  Click on The Estate Planning Group logo on the right to visit our website and learn more, or to submit a contact request if you're ready to get started.  

We're your Appleton, Kaukauna and Green Bay estate planning attorneys who make a difference with our client family.  We are proud to be home to Wisconsin's only licensed Personal Family Lawyer® and Family Business Lawyer®.

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