Senior Couple on Computer

Digital assets need to be protected now. However, they also need to be made available later.

Protecting your digital assets before you pass away and making them available later can create some conflicts. There are three basic complications when it comes to planning for someone else to access your digital accounts after you pass away, according to the New York Law Journal in “Protecting Digital Assets in a Digital Age.”

The basic complications include:

  • Passwords — You probably do not want to give anyone else the passwords to your accounts now. However, someone else will need them after you pass away. This requires having a secure plan.
  • Encryption — Increasingly, many digital accounts have heavy encryption. Someone who knows how to work with encryption is, therefore, required to handle your accounts after you pass away.
  • Criminal Law — It is a federal crime (and a state level crime in most places) to obtain unauthorized access to someone’s digital accounts. What often counts as “authorized” is determined by the terms of use of a website. In the absence of state laws that grant certain people access after you pass away, someone who accesses your accounts could be breaking the law. For this reason, it is important to talk to an estate planning attorney to make sure that does not happen.

An estate planning attorney can advise you in creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances, including protecting your digital assets.

Reference: New York Law Journal (May 4, 2018) “Protecting Digital Assets in a Digital Age.”

For more information on asset preservation and estate planning, please visit my estate planning website.

Mr. Amoruso concentrates his practice on Elder Law, Comprehensive Estate Planning, Asset Preservation, Estate Administration and Guardianship.