Estate Planning Law Firm St. Peters, MO
An increasing amount of American life is conducted, stored and/or accessed in digital formats. As a result, it is becoming increasingly important for American adults to consider their digital assets when drafting their estate plans. Not so long ago, it was commonplace for individuals and couples to write out simple wills and nothing more. However, estate planning has become increasingly complex as American law has evolved and daily life has changed. In addition to constructing a will, most individuals benefit from designating medical and financial powers of attorney, considering tools like trusts and making plans for their digital assets.
Thankfully, no one needs to approach this complex and rapidly evolving area of law alone. Experienced estate planning attorneys often provide valuable legal guidance for those seeking to address their digital assets within the context of their estate plans. The process of consulting an attorney may be especially valuable for those individuals who store any kind of intellectual property on digital platforms. Whether that intellectual property is artistic, business-related, financial or personal, it is important to ensure that an individual’s wishes related to such assets are respected and legally enforceable.
Usernames, Passwords and Accounts
Have you ever given any thought to who will or will not be accessing your digital accounts after you’re gone? Would you want your spouse to be able to access your email, social media platforms, bank accounts and business-related sites? It is possible to designate such permissions and prohibitions within the text of your estate plan. Thinking ahead will allow your accounts to be properly closed and any information within those accounts stored and/or destroyed according to your wishes. Absent your explicit instructions, your digital accounts may be accessed by any number of individuals.
One of the ways you can prepare for a consultation with an estate planning attorney about your digital assets is to take notes about your digital usage over a period of days. Once you start writing down all the accounts and password-protected sites you regularly access, you may be surprised by how many digital assets you interact with. After you have monitored your activity for a few days, you can begin brainstorming who you may want to grant permission to access your information and who you may want to prohibit from doing so. You can also begin jotting down notes about how you would like your digital assets handled after you’re gone. Your attorney will be able to help you process this information in useful and legally enforceable ways.
Estate Planning Guidance Is Available
If you have questions about digital estate planning and/or intellectual property, please consider speaking with an experienced attorney from an estate planning law firm St. Peters, MO offers at Sweeney Legal, LLC. As this area of law is continuing to evolve, it is generally a good idea to seek guidance rather than resting on your assumptions. When the law changes rapidly, alterations can catch individuals unawares. Speaking with an attorney will help to ensure that your education related to this subject is as up-to-date as is possible and that it remains so. Once your assets are protected, your attorney will be able to help ensure that such protections are maintained over time and/or altered whenever appropriate and necessary.