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Digital Assets

  • Email accounts
  • Website accounts
  • Downloaded movies
  • Downloaded music
  • Downloaded eBooks
  • Free download
  • Estate planning and digital assets overview
    What to know:
  • The law is still often unclear in these areas.
  • Read the Terms of Services for each site for information on how that account might be passed.
  • Keep a list of website logins and passwords in a safe and secure place (not on your computer).
  • Many forms of downloaded music are only licensed to the user, not owned.
  • Digital media is treated different than traditional records, CDs, DVDs and other assets which can be passed to beneficiaries.
  • What Happens to Email, Web Accounts, Digital Music, eBooks and Videos When You Pass?

    Digital content on your computer, iPod, Kindle and other devices does not automatically transfer to your beneficiaries. Many of the files you download are not owned outright. Read the Terms of Service contracts on each site you have an account or from which you purchase media.

    Access to an account is often limited to the user and not allowed to be passed along to a beneficiary. Again, read the Terms of Service for each account you open. Google, Yahoo and other sites handle the topic differently from one another. Fiduciaries and those named in an estate may not be granted access to accounts if logins and passwords are not left by deceased, and even then usage is often limited legally.

    This area of estate planning is still developing and court cases will continue to explore the rights of fiduciaries and beneficiaries.

    Below are several sites that explore these concepts in depth.

    What Happens to Your Apple iTunes Music, Videos, and eBooks When You Die?

    Don't Let Your Digital Assets Die Hard

    What Happens to Your Digital Assets When you Become Incapacitated or Die?

    View Jamie Kahn's profile on LinkedIn

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