Don’t Forget Your Digital Estate Plan

Don’t Forget Your Digital Estate Plan

Lamm says the best way to value your digital property is to put it up for sale on a site like eBay to see what buyers are willing to pay for it. Also check prices that other online auction sellers are charging for property similar to yours.

However, not all domain names or video game accounts have financial value. Nor do eBay accounts, which Lamm says are not transferable. The same goes for accounts with PayPal and Amazon. Outside of the sentimental value to family members, there may not be much, if any, financial value when it comes to Web pages and blogs except in cases where advertising is sold on the pages.

Provide directions for distributing digital assets.
A proper estate plan should outline what to do with your property, digital or otherwise. Lamm notes that Internet-based accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail may not be transferable under their terms of service agreements, but that your fiduciary might be able to request a copy of the digital contents of the accounts.

Choose a secure, central location for all passwords.
Compile a list of passwords so that loved ones aren’t left without access because of password protection or encryption. Also, back up data on external media such as flash drives and DVDs. Web-based repositories such as Legacy Locker and AssetLock store an electronic list of passwords and digital property, making it easier for fiduciaries to access your information.

Appoint an executor who is comfortable with technology.
“It’s no problem to have the same person handle your digital assets and your estate as a whole, or two individuals,” Lamm says, as long as the representative has some computer knowledge. The executor doesn’t need extensive computer expertise, but it can be helpful to have a fiduciary who is familiar in general with technology.