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Orange County Estate Planning for Your Digital Afterlife

If you're like most Americans, you have a rich digital life. You may bank online, invest online and certainly interact socially online. But where do those assets go after you do?

Unfortunately, identity theft is rising even for the deceased. TIME magazine recently reported that over 2.5 million Americans became victims of identity theft after they died. Disposition of digital assets, like any other property, should be part of a good California estate plan. Here are some tips for protecting your digital assets after death:

Take inventory of digital assets. You need to make a list of all your online accounts, including the website address, your user name and password for each account. Digital assets can also include documents on your computer - photos, videos or anything else you have created that may have value.

Determine what you want to happen with your digital assets. You may want to pass along your more personal digital assets like family photos to your heirs. Facebook allows accounts to be closed or set up as a memorial, but if you have a Yahoo! website or email account, it will be closed upon your death.

Create documentation giving your executor access to your digital accounts. You can either have your estate executor take care of the disposition of your digital assets or create a separate power of attorney for digital assets if you want to have another family member take care of closing down or transferring your accounts. However, bank, retirement and investment accounts will pass to those named on beneficiary forms, so be sure those are kept up to date.

The Flanigan Law Group provides Southern California residents with personal attention for estate planning, administration and litigation legal services. When disputes between families, arise, they are very successful in resolving legal estate issues quickly and efficiently while preserving financial and emotional resources. Contact the Flanigan Law Group at 949-450-0042.

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