Technological assets and estate planning

Tax Comments Off on Technological assets and estate planning

The issues and assets to be considered when discussing death planning have expanded radically. People increasingly have a complex digital life that can be more private and less well recorded than their physical one.

For example you may own music on iTunes, books on Kindle, store family photos in the cloud and blog, tweet and email from various sources.

Some people may want their family to have total access to their electronic legacy, but others may expect post mortem privacy, with all items deleted or frozen.

Once a person is dead, their digital assets are generally in the control of a large corporation which will have its own rules and ways of doing things. The deceased’s relations may have to resort to court to obtain access to digital information, or to deny it to others.

Key points to consider:

  • Issues relating to copyright owned by third parties.
  • Who has the right of access to email accounts?
  • Clients should make a list of their virtual assets.
  • Planning is essential to ensure valuable memories and information are not lost.

Planning actions:

  • Make an inventory of online accounts and keep this up to date
  • Make a note of what you would like done with items such as emails and digital photos
  • Note: a list of passwords is not advisable for security reasons
  • Family businesses need a disaster recovery plan to deal with various corporate virtual assets

Please contact us if you would like to discuss this further.