What are digital assets?

Digital assets can be text, images, multimedia information, or personal property stored in a digital format. Digital assets can be stored on a computer, server, smart phone, tablet or other electronic device.

When we think about digital assets, I am sure that most of us can think of at least ten to twenty different types of digital assets that you own right now.

Digital assets include personal assets such as e-mails, photographs, videos, music and videos stored on a file sharing website, or they can be items stored on a computer, smart phone, or tablet.  These also include social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn. These websites also may contain photos, videos and other electronic files.

Business owners, in particular must be careful to manage their digital business property carefully.  This type of property includes online accounts registered to the business, assets of an online store the business manages, newsletters subscription lists, and client information and client history.  Oftentimes, these digital assets are the lifeblood of the business and in the event of the death of the owner, businesses are in jeopardy of losing this information.  Thus, it is important to manage this information.  Businesses must also remember to track their domain names.  Sometimes these domain names can be valuable if it is marketable or if it has significant value to the business.  Finally, it is crucial that intellectual property is managed, such as copyrighted digital materials, registered trademarks, and patents.  These must be tracked, as there are often requirements to renew your trademark or defend a patent.

All of these assets have something in common, they must be managed after your death so that your beneficiaries receive their benefits or business is able to properly function.  The first step is to create a list of all of your digital assets and how to access all of them.  These lists should be accessible to your successor trustee and clear directions given regarding how you wish for them to be distributed and used.  By planning and organizing this information, you ensure that these valuable and oftentimes, sentimental assets are protected. 

Source:  Affinity Trusts. Not affiliated with KeyPoint Credit Union.