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Providing Access to Digital Assets

Posted by Nina Whitehurst | May 31, 2018 | 0 Comments

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Digital assets need to be protected now.  However, they also need to be made available later.

Protecting your digital assets before you pass away and making them available later, can create some conflicts. There are three basic complications, when it comes to planning for someone else to access your digital accounts after you pass away, according to the New York Law Journal in "Protecting Digital Assets in a Digital Age."

The basic complications include:

  • Passwords -- You probably do not want to give anyone else the passwords to your accounts now. However, someone else will need them, after you pass away. This requires having a secure plan.
  • Encryption -- Increasingly, many digital accounts have heavy encryption. Someone who knows how to work with encryption is, therefore, required to handle your accounts, after you pass away.
  • Criminal Law -- It is a federal crime (and a state level crime in most places) to obtain unauthorized access to someone's digital accounts. What often counts as “authorized”, is determined by the terms of use of a website. In the absence of state laws that grant certain people access after you pass away, someone who accesses your accounts could be breaking the law. For this reason, it is important to talk to an estate planning attorney to make sure that does not happen.

An estate planning attorney can advise you in creating an estate plan that fits your unique circumstances, including digital assets.

Reference: New York Law Journal (May 4, 2018) "Protecting Digital Assets in a Digital Age."

About the Author

Nina Whitehurst

Attorney at Law Nina has been practicing law for over 30 years in the areas of estate planning, real estate and business law She is currently licensed in Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon and Tennessee. Her Martindale-Hubbell attorney rating is the highest achievable: 5 stars in peer...

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