Digital Assets — What happens when you pass away?

These days, many people are acquiring “digital assets –” things that exist nowhere except in that big nowhere we call the Internet. These may be just photographs and social media accounts, but they may also include bank and brokerage account statements, personal websites, and more.

It may surprise you to learn that your personal representative may not lawfully be in control of these assets when you pass away.

For example, a quick check of the terms and conditions for my Facebook page shows that I agreed not to transfer my page to anyone else. There is no specific term regarding what happens if I die, but I guess dying is a violation of the agreement since, when I go, everything I have will be transferred to someone.

Does it matter? There are old friends for whom I have no contact information other than through Facebook. I have posted pictures there that may exist elsewhere, or may not.

Bottom line: if you have assets that you access on the Internet, make it a point to review the account agreements and determine what happens when you die. This may mean you will need to make a change to your will, to give your personal representative the authority to access, download and preserve your digital assets.