Have you wondered about the future of your digital music collection, elibrary and digital copies of your favorite movies? According to a MarketWatch survey, the average American spends $30 per month on ebooks and digital music purchases. Digital estate planning and concerns about digital property are relatively new, but the future of this property is of great interest to many people.
With the new Apple product launching today, amid great hype as always, posting about digital property seemed timely. The amount of digital property and the overall sum spent can add up at $30 per month -- so what will happen to the assets in the future? Technically and legally, customers don't actually own the digital files, something that most consumers aren't aware of. What you purchase is the license to use the digital file, which means the digital property essentially follows you to the grave.
Experts have said that new laws may need to be written about the inclusion of ebooks and MP3 or other music files, as issues of digital file ownership are becoming more complex and more common
However, by giving loved ones your passwords, they will be able to access devices and accounts, and may be able to pull the data. There is a chance that legal issues of licensing and ownership may be violated by doing this. Consulting an estate-planning lawyer to create a legal trust for digital assets may allow you to control the transfer of this property to a beneficiary.
Source: FindLaw, "Can You Include iTunes, eBooks in Your Will?" Andrew Chow, JD, Aug. 29, 2012
Our firm handles cases of complex assets and wills. Visit our Pennsylvania estate administration page for more information.