In the past, almost all of a person’s property was either physical assets, cash, or funds in the bank. However, that has changed a lot over the years, and more and more people now own digital assets.
If your deceased loved one owned any digital assets and you want to ensure that they are not ignored or overlooked, you need a Chattanooga probate lawyer who will make sure that each digital item is identified and goes to the proper person.
What are digital assets?
Just like physical assets, your digital assets can be extremely valuable. However, these types of assets can be tricky, as they can be forgotten about, become at risk of identity theft, or continue to accumulate charges and fees after you pass away, which your estate will be in charge of paying for. If you currently do not own any digital assets, this may sound confusing. This is because digital assets are still a new concept, and some people may not realize these items are assets that can be passed down or designated to a loved one when they die. The following are several examples of common digital assets:
- Social networking sites
- Email account information
- Personal photographs and videos
- Cryptocurrency or bitcoin
- Personal computer files
- Digital businesses and websites
- Financial and banking accounts
- Work or personal computers
- Cloud accounts
- Personal online music, audio recordings, games, or artwork
- Online rewards (airline miles and rewards)
- Online blogs
- PayPal, Amazon, or Etsy money
As you can see, there are many different digital assets that you may need to consider. While no one wants to think about themselves being in a tragic accident or unexpectedly passing away, the truth is that fatal accidents can happen to any person at any time. Therefore, it is crucial that you make sure your digital assets are safe and secure and that you have informed your attorney about who you would like them to go to.
Can I put digital assets in my will?
Yes, you can put digital assets in your will. In fact, it is highly recommended that you take the necessary steps to sit down with an attorney and go over each of your digital assets and what you want to happen to them if you die or become incapacitated. While this is a great idea, it is also important to know that some digital assets cannot be passed down or designated to a family member or loved one. It may depend on the licensing agreements, terms of service, and many other factors.
Therefore, it is always wise to write down every digital asset that you own and ask your lawyer if they are transferable or can be placed in your will. The general idea is that your digital assets must be personally owned and worth money to be entered into your will. However, if they are not worth money and cannot be placed into your will, you may still want to let your attorney know about them, as well as develop a plan for what will happen to them once you pass away or can no longer make decisions.
The role of a forensic professional in probate
One of the most beneficial connections when it comes to identifying and locating a deceased family member’s digital assets is forensic computing professionals. These individuals can find hidden, sensitive, or even encrypted files or information about a person. Here are a few of the tasks that a forensic computing expert will help your attorney with:
- Finding and preserving cloud, computer, iPad, or cell phone data and evidence
- Analyzing and pinpointing any type of fraud or theft
- Discovering passwords for certain accounts, such as email, social media, etc.
- Finding deleted, tampered, hidden, or altered documents or files
- Locating videos and photographs
- Identifying any data breaches
- Recovering any valuable data or information
- Locating and identifying financial accounts
How can your Chattanooga probate attorneys help me?
A Chattanooga probate attorney from Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law can assist families at every part of the probate process. When a person passes away, it can be very tough to go through their belongings and distribute them while also grieving their loss. A probate lawyer sorts through debts, wills, assets, and other belongings that the deceased person designated and left behind. This includes any digital assets that were named in a will – and anything that was left out.
Arguments and disagreements are common among family members during this tense time. The reason for this is because some people do not agree or want others to have certain belongings of the deceased. However, a Chattanooga probate lawyer from Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law will remain impartial and ensure that the deceased person’s wishes and demands are successfully met.
Our team knows and understands the ins and outs of the probate process. We have seen families bring serious and aggressive disputes as well as create their own fake wills to try to get their wishes. However, we know how to identify real wills as well as find hidden wills and assets of which you may not be aware. Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law wants to assure you that you can lean on us during this challenging time, as well as trust us to properly distribute your loved one’s belongings to the correct or fair individuals.
If you believe that your deceased loved one had digital assets and you need help locating and distributing them fairly, please do not hesitate to contact Wagner & Wagner Attorneys at Law at your earliest convenience. Our Chattanooga probate attorneys take these cases very seriously and do everything we can to recover your loved one’s hidden or deleted digital assets, statements, insurance policies, tax information, debts, and more. Call our office or complete our contact form to schedule your free case review today. Proudly serving Cleveland and the surrounding areas.
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