Facebook, digital assets and estate planning

Many Oklahoma residents are aware of the importance of a solid estate plan. However, many may lack knowledge as to the specifics involved in such a plan. Sometimes, only the big, obvious assets may spring to mind -- the homes, cars, bank accounts and so on. For many, though, there are many other assets that come into play. Being aware of these assets and how and whether to include them in an estate plan can be of immense help.

One type of asset that may not be so obvious to many is a digital asset. For those born before a certain time, a digital asset may be a foreign concept. In today's day and age, however, digital assets can play a very important role. Digital assets can include anything from a person's digital music library to spreadsheets stored on a person's computer. Anything that is stored in a binary format could be considered a digital asset.

Some of those familiar with digital assets may be surprised to learn that social media and email accounts can also fall under the category. In fact, Facebook recently released a feature specifically related to digital assets and estate planning. Called the Legacy Contact, Facebook now allows users to authorize a person who can access and modify that user's account in the event of death. The Legacy Contact can edit the person's profile, update a cover photo and even download an archive containing pictures and profile information.

As becomes apparent when looking at digital assets, there is much to estate administration that may not be initially obvious. Oftentimes, it takes a lawyer with expertise in estate planning to help make sense of the ins and outs of a well-structured estate plan.

Source: MarketWatch, "Facebook's tool for your digital estate plan," Steve Cook, May 6, 2015

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