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Charleston Estate Planning & Asset Protection Blog

Friday, February 15, 2019

Digital Asset Preservation

One of the basics goals of estate planning is protecting your assets. In the past, assets were categorized in two ways: real property, meaning land, and personal property, including furniture, vehicles, jewelry, and cash. Now that we have entered the age of technology, however, another category has been added to your cumulative worth: digital assets. Digital assets are defined as assets owned by an individual and stored on a digital device, in an online account, or in cyberspace. At Wiles Law Firm, LLC, an estate planning law firm in Charleston, South Carolina, our skilled attorneys are well-schooled in protecting these less tangible, but often equally valuable, assets.

Examples of Digital Assets

If you are like most people in this country, you use a computer at home and/or at your place of employment. As technology advances more and more rapidly, you accumulate more and more digital assets. These assets include:

  • Accounts on Google, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, eBay and email
  • PayPal as a way of paying for goods and services
  • Online banking and investment accounts
  • Online trading and wealth management accounts
  • Websites you own
  • Photos, art, music, videos, text
  • Medical records and legal documents
  • Any data stored electronically, whether online, in the cloud, or on a physical device
  • Blogs you manage
  • Domain names and other intellectual property you own

As you can see, most of us have a great many digital assets in need of preservation. This is one of the reasons it is essential to have an estate planning attorney who has current knowledge and cutting-edge skills to protect all of your accumulated wealth, including your digital assets. Notice that some of the items on the above list are assets in the sense that they have great personal value. Others, such as your trademarked or copywritten materials, may actually be a source of income.

Managing Digital Assets in an Estate Plan

Today’s estate planning attorneys have to be innovative in figuring out effective ways to preserve your online wealth, as well as your material property. At Wiles Law Firm we not only work hard to protect your digital assets so they can be distributed to your loved ones at the time of your death, but help you facilitate methods for their management should you become incapacitated.  

What Has To Be Done to Preserve Your Digital Assets

One important step in preserving your digital assets is to name a designated individual for whom you have mapped out (with legal counsel) precisely how these assets and accounts should be handled. To be effective, this should be done in an orderly fashion.
First, we need to take a careful inventory of all online accounts, memberships and subscriptions, complete with web addresses, user ID and password information, and account numbers.

Since one of the possible problems with a will is that it is a public document, the above-mentioned information should be referred to in the will, but not included in it. Your appointed fiduciary should have full access to this inventory with pre-established passwords, but your fiduciary must also be provided with instructions regarding how the password can be accessed to make certain that his or her hands are not tied by the service provider’s restrictions.
In addition, your fiduciary should be provided with specific instructions about how you want these accounts managed.

Why You Need Wiles Law Firm To Preserve Your Digital Assets

Estate planning is a complex process and requires the assistance of a well-informed professional.

Remember, if you do not set up an appropriate management system for the digital asset portion of your estate, state laws will take control of distributing them after you pass away. Wiles Law Firm is here to protect your rights and your property, even when your property is stored in the cloud. Give us a call or fill out a contact form on our website so we can assist with closing any and all loopholes and preserving all of your assets.


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Wiles Law Firm, LLC helps clients with their estate planning needs in Charleston, South Carolina and the surrounding areas such as West Ashley, Summerville, North Charleston, Mount Pleasant, and John's Island.

Information on this website is not legal advice. Further, viewing of the enclosed information does not create an attorney-client relationship with Wiles Law Firm, LLC. Matters will be handled by attorneys who primarily practice out of our office in Charleston County located at 852 Lowcountry Blvd., Ste. 101, Mt. Pleasant, SC 29464. M. Emerson Wiles, III is the attorney responsible for this advertisement.

Any result Wiles Law Firm, LLC may achieve on behalf of one client in one particular matter does not necessarily indicate similar results can be obtained for other clients. Please contact a South Carolina estate planning attorney or one of our attorneys with Wiles Law Firm, LLC for a consultation regarding your unique estate plan.

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