Digital assets: what they are, and why you should protect them

Spotify. iTunes. Twitter. Amazon. Yahoo. Gmail.

And, of course, Facebook.

These names are familiar to scores of millions — in some cases, perhaps billions — of people across the globe, with legions of consumers interacting with them on a daily basis to do their shopping, listen to music, receive and send mail and engage in various social activities.

Collectively, they have been termed “digital assets,” and they are part and parcel of what contributes to the core identity of many individuals in a given case.

And that is, of course, why so many of us live and breathe the Internet, with our so-called “online presence” being every bit as outsized as the one that otherwise carries us through life.

As such, high numbers of us are veritable founts of user IDs and passwords, with those personal identifiers acting as online keys to open up our digital worlds.

What happens when you die, leaving behind all those accounts?

That seems a reasonable question, indeed, given that an individual might have a score or more of online accounts and a highly complex online presence.

One commentator in a recent media piece addressing Internet accounts and their status/disposition after an account holder’s death poses this query: “To what extent does privacy continue after one has passed?”

As noted in that article, federal laws regarding digital asset management following a user’s death “offer varying degrees of clarity,” with state enactments especially lacking any national uniformity. Although all states bar account access by unauthorized users, the laws regarding precisely who can access and make material decisions concerning a decedent’s account can be quite murky.

Any person having questions or concerns regarding digital assets and their management following a user’s death might reasonably want to contact a proven estate administration attorney. Increasingly these days, such accounts warrant a thorough review in the same manner that more traditional accounts and records do.

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