What Happens to Digital Assets at Death Depends on What We Own or Don't Own

May 27, 2010
Advertisement

imageThe following article is from @nathandosch, Estate Attorney and author of DigitalEstatePlanning.com.

Digital Assets: Property or Licenses?

The foundational element to estate planning for digital assets is determining the character of the interest that the client wishes to distribute or dispose of upon his or her death. This is particularly important in the context of digital assets because the diversity of the digital asset category is expansive. In addition, the term ?asset? when used in conjunction with ?digital? does not conform to the traditional property law system.

The Digital Death industry has collectively decided to use the term ?digital assets? to refer to a broad category of accounts, memberships, licenses, property and legacy items. Since the law and a client?s rights vary depending on the character of the interest, it is essential that practitioners not only identify and categorize digital assets, but they must understand if and how a client can transfer or dispose of those digital assets.

Advertisement

Given both the significance and breadth of the property vs. license discussion it would be naive to think I could do it justice in one, albeit lengthy, post. Therefore, I have decided to start a series dedicated to answering the following questions: What, if anything, do we ?own? in regards to digital assets? and What about everything else?

The answers and conclusions from this series discussion the categories of digital assets will feed directly into the estate planning for digital assets discussion where I hope to answer the following questions: If a client can transfer or dispose of digital assets following his or her death or incapacitation? and How can practitioners ensure that the client?s wishes in regards to the transfer or disposal of digital assets is legally binding and enforceable?

In a developing area of law it is not surprising to see more questions than answers so I am not discouraged by this. Instead I view it as an opportunity to develop a solution for an important planning issue that will only continue to grow in significance as technology and our collective Internet presence advance. I will file the series in the ?Categories of Digital Assets? folder so we can centralize the discussion.

CDFuneralNews

CDFuneralNews

ConnectingDirectors.com is the leading online daily publication for funeral professionals with a reader base of over 45,000 of the most elite and forward-thinking professionals in the profession. With ConnectingDirectors.com we have created a global community through an online platform allowing funeral professionals to Stay Current. Stay Informed and Stay Elite.
CDFuneralNews
Advertisement

You may be interested

Studio Nienke Hoogvliet Designs Cremation Urn Using Plastic Derived From Wastewater
Cremation
154 views
Cremation
154 views

Studio Nienke Hoogvliet Designs Cremation Urn Using Plastic Derived From Wastewater

CDFuneralNews - December 14, 2017

Originally Published on Dezeen Studio Nienke Hoogvliet has harnessed a method of transforming wastewater into bioplastic, and used it to create a sustainable cremation…

ICCFA, Wilbert and Pierce Mortuary Colleges Partner to Offer Live Streaming Cremation Training
Funeral Industry Press Releases
75 views
Funeral Industry Press Releases
75 views

ICCFA, Wilbert and Pierce Mortuary Colleges Partner to Offer Live Streaming Cremation Training

CDFuneralNews - December 14, 2017

STERLING, VA  – The International Cemetery, Cremation and Funeral Association has partnered with Wilbert and Pierce Mortuary Colleges to bring…

American Funeral Director Honors ‘Funeral Director of the Year’
Funeral Industry Press Releases
89 views
Funeral Industry Press Releases
89 views

American Funeral Director Honors ‘Funeral Director of the Year’

CDFuneralNews - December 14, 2017

WALL, N.J. — Danny Jefferson, location manager at Pierce Jefferson Funeral & Cremation Services in Kernersville, North Carolina, has been…

Comments