Steve Marr Blog

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Aug 29

Your Digital Estate

Posted by: Steve Marr

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Hopefully most, if not all, readers have a thought through providing a will and/or trust that will dispose of earthly assets at the time of death. This leads to the question, who controls your digital assets after we die? Currently there is no federal law governing digital assets, though some states have pending legislation on the books with a wide variation.


Many years ago we had a severe fire at home which destroyed many family heirlooms and photos going back to the late 1800s. This loss was gone forever. I know many have had the experience of losing photos on your phone or computer after a crash. Today with cloud computing and other storage options, these photos and information can be safely parked where they won’t be devastated by your next computer crash.  However, if you don’t take steps to protect your heirs’ access to them; they could be lost forever upon your death.

Facebook offers you protection from losing your Facebook account. You can use this link to learn how to apply this feature.

My understanding is that if you have not specified a transfer of ownership of your online or digital accounts, the sponsoring company can close them at your death. As a result images, articles or other information posted on sites will be lost forever.

The best option is to include in your will or trust the specific wording that gives heirs control over these digital assets. In addition, keep a file locked in a secure location that identifies key account information including access information and passwords so that your accounts can be easily accessed.

King Solomon spoke to the issue of leaving an inheritance when he wrote, “A good person leaves an inheritance for their children's children, but a sinner's wealth is stored up for the righteous.” (Proverbs 13:22, NIV) In today’s changing environment, your digital assets are an increasingly important part of our legacy to pass on to others. Protect them.

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