There have been a number of stories in the news about parents of soldiers who’ve been killed in the recent wars wanting access to their child’s email accounts and not being able to obtain it due to privacy laws. As a result there is also an increased awareness of planning for what happens to your digital assets after you pass away. More and more financial advisors and estate planners are recommending that all of us identify our digital assets in our estate. With online bill paying and paperless communications this is a real concern for those left behind to deal with our estate and in some cases clean up our messes.
For writers it’s especially important to address their digital assets because some of these may have monetary value to the estate, not the least of which is the domain name for the writer’s website. Questions such as renewing the domain name registration, maintaining the website and by whom both of these tasks are done need to be identified. It’s becoming clearer and clearer that most writers don’t have a plan of action for these tasks. Keep in mind that there are laws at both the federal and state levels that need to be considered which is why it's best to work with an experienced legal expert on digital estate issues.
In the past few years several of my writer acquaintances have passed away, some suddenly, some as a result of a long illness and it’s a very haunting experience to receive a spam email from one of their email addresses. Obviously, they aren’t sending the emails but it does bring to mind the need to make sure that somebody is identified to either maintain the writer’s digital presence or to gently shut it down.
For more guidance on planning for the digital portion of your estate the following links are suggested: