An interesting article from attorney Deborah G. Matthews caught my eye and left me with a stark conclusion: When it comes to dividing your marital assets in your divorce settlement negotiations, don't neglect your digital property. Ms. Matthews' article isn't specifically about property division, but it applies:
It is a new world out there. Looking forward, we face a digital frontier with many unknowns. You might know where your digital things are located, but could others find them without your help.
The digital frontier has changed how we access what’s ours. Digital property is often hidden from view. No longer can we simply reach out and touch things.
Examples of digital property would include fairly obvious things such as digital image files and ebooks, but what about your social media accounts? Websites -- and that would include not only the domain registration but the site files as well? Your digital information and passwords to shopping and networking sites?
To determine how a site or online provider will treat your data in case of death or incapacity, read the Terms of Service to see whether a guardian or executor may access the data, remove it, or if your site will terminate after a given period of inactivity. Even where an executor may have power over digital property, a court order may be required under the Terms of Service — a costly option. What can you do now?
Loved ones may have no idea what exists or where to find it. The best plan is to keep a detailed list of your digital property with username, password, PIN, security question and answer, and how to access all the required login data — a digital inventory.
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