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Protecting Your Digital Assets

Whether you realize it or not, you probably have digital assets. If you’ve ever signed up for a simple email account, or social media profile, you’ve left an online imprint with identifying information. The management of digital assets can seem like a legal grey area because inheritance laws haven’t quite caught up with our new tech world. But there are some steps you can take to protect your digital assets.

What is considered a digital asset?

Developments such as cryptocurrency, and apps like Venmo, have made online banking commonplace, but digital assets aren’t limited to finances. Rather, your digital assets refer to any personal information you access on the web, or store in the cloud. For example, subscription services, stored photographs, and Facebook content. If something happened to you, who would be able to access your business website or share saved Google Photos with your family?

Steps you can take now

1. Consult with an estate lawyer

An attorney that focuses on estate planning will be aware of the most recent laws and can help you determine how best to protect your digital assets. This may include a letter of instruction that explains your accounts, and how to log in, as well as your final wishes for their management.

2. Get Organized

Organize your accounts, usernames, and passwords. There are password managers available, such as LastPass, that remember all your access information, so you don’t have to. You only need to keep track of the “master password.”

3. Purchase an External Hard Drive

An external hard drive is useful for storing photographs and important documents that you want made available to your loved ones. The hard drive plugs into your computer and will need to be updated periodically to remain current. 

It’s risky to leave your digital assets in limbo once you’re gone. From the ownership of domain names to your Twitter account, deciding what to do with your digital trail can be time-consuming. If you need to update, or create a new will, Lewman Law can help. Contact us today to begin the process of protecting your digital assets.

Filed under Estate Planning Tips, Legal Services

The Risk of DIY Wills

Drafting your own do-it-yourself (DIY) will online might seem cheap and convenient, but it can lend you a false sense of security. When you hire an attorney, you’re paying for the peace of mind their experience ensures. Estate planning mistakes are costly to fix, and sometimes it’s just too late to undo the damage. DIY wills put you at risk for improper estate planning, which is a future burden for loved ones who suffer the consequences.

DIY Wills vs. Hiring an Attorney

More than half of all Americans don’t have a will. The process can seem overwhelming, but well informed estate planning allows you to express your wishes after you’re gone, and it can prevent conflict within complex family dynamics. Having all documents in order reduces confusion and the possibility that disputes might need to be resolved in court.

The software for DIY wills can’t advise you on your specific situation. Nothing replaces the face-to-face guidance a good attorney provides. DIY wills are a one-size-fits-all solution to estate planning. These online services are largely inadequate for our complicated personal, professional, and financial lives. Consider what might happen if you forget a document, or aren’t aware of some nuance in your state’s probate code. Another issue with DIY wills where it’s possible to go astray is in the realm of settling estate taxes.

Yes, it seems convenient to open your laptop and settle things in the privacy of your own home, and it’s true that it’s better to have any plan, than no plan at all. But DIY wills leave you vulnerable to unforeseen mistakes. Answering one question incorrectly, or failing to execute a document properly, may render it invalid. Regardless of what you choose, whether it’s a fill-in-the-blank form, or leaving things in the hands of a trusted professional, keep your documents up-to-date with any life changes.

Filed under Estate Planning Tips, Legal Services