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  • Writer's pictureCook Tillman

What to know about digital assets and estate planning

Tennessee is home to a rich music history – everything from country, bluegrass, rock and gospel artists have called this state home for generations. In the last several years, the music scene has changed drastically though. Most artists now have their lyrics and early tracks stored digitally. Many musicians who are trying to make a name for themselves release songs on Spotify and use PayPal and Venmo when they sell their music and merchandise to fans.

Yet what happens to an artist’s digital assets if they pass away suddenly? Who will gain control of their social media accounts or YouTube following? It’s an issue many artists now should plan for when estate planning.

Creating an inventory of digital assets

The first step to manage your digital assets as part of your estate planning is to create an inventory of them. Keep in mind that digital assets include the following:

  1. Domain names for websites

  2. Digital photos and videos

  3. Blog content

  4. Digital rights to songs and videos

  5. YouTube content that generates revenue from advertising

  6. Mp3 song downloads, e-books and digital media downloads and subscriptions

You need to catalog all of these assets and log where these digital assets are located online. As part of this documentation, you need to include any passwords someone may need to access these assets. You should also make a list of all your social media accounts and passwords for those so someone can access them if you were to pass away suddenly.

Giving digital assets to beneficiaries

Once you have logged all your digital assets, you can decide who will receive those. You can work with an estate planning attorney to have that information included in your will. You also can specify who is allowed to access your computer through your provided passwords and if you want your social media accounts shut down when you pass away.

Most likely, including digital assets in an estate plan will become more and more common in the coming years. Updating your plan for your digital assets also will be necessary every few years, which an estate planning attorney can help you with.


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