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The idea of digital assets still seems abstract. It can be something you purchase or something you create. Until it is printed or saved somewhere other than the cloud, you cannot touch it; yet, it has value and may need a place in your estate plan.

With something as intangible as a digital asset, it can be easy to overlook them, assuming they will “go away” after you pass on. Depending on your assets, however, your digital belongings may need a detailed plan all their own when it comes to preparing your estate.

This is what happens to your digital assets after you pass away.

Nothing is automatic

While certain online accounts may go “dormant” after a period of inactivity, most accounts will continue existing until someone closes them. Depending on the account, there may be specific actions you want someone to take after you pass away.

As you draft your estate plan, give clear directions on what you want the person overseeing your accounts to take. If you want your account manager to maintain the account for a certain period of time, make it clear what actions are acceptable.

Just because you bought it doesn’t mean it’s yours to give

One or more of your digital accounts probably includes media that you purchased. What you may not know is that in many licensing agreements for these accounts is a clause stating that you cannot transfer that media to another person.

When you are preparing your digital assets for your estate plan, read the licensing agreement carefully. There may be a provision that grants a certain number of downloads that you could transfer. If you are permitted a certain number of downloads, consider regularly updating an external hard drive so that you can transfer your digital media assets.