Fear of Deletion   Leave a comment

Digital Assets.  I remember when my parents got their first and only desk-top computer. It was in the late 1990’s and it was a hand-me-down from friends who were early technology adapters. At first, they were very interested in learning how to use it. For a while I believe they were spending more money on computer tutors than food.

When my father died, he had notebooks filled with instructions about how to log on.  He wanted to use the computer for word processing  and my mother wanted to learn how to use email.  However, they both suffered from fear of deletion.  That is, they were both terrified that they would delete what they had written, never be able to recover the text or the thought and some how break the computer in the process. Consequently, my father continued to do his creative writing in long hand and my mother used the telephone to communicate.

My mother ultimately overcame her diagraphephobia (can you believe there is a word for fear of deletion?) and became quite adept at playing bridge online, but she never did use email.

It is much more common now for people in my parents’ generation to use computers so that they can communicate with their children and grandchildren. These Digital Immigrants are amassing digital assets. Increasingly, digital assets are a consideration in estate planning. There are companies that have developed products that help to protect digital assets and assure that data is accessible to executors or named individuals after the owner passes away.  Entrustet, Legacy Locker and DataInherit are three such companies.

Tips: Check the websites above to see what qualifies as a digital asset. Entrustet has a digital property search function for deceased people. So, even if it was not a consideration during estate planning, the executor can obtain the information. It is always best to obtain a list of accounts and passwords while your parents are still alive.

Information found on this web site is for general informational purposes only based on personal experience and should not be construed as legal, tax or other professional advice. You should consult an experienced attorney , tax professional or financial advisor concerning your particular factual situation and any specific questions you may have.

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