McAfee the online security organization have commissioned a few surveys over the years that show the growing value of digital assets. Their research in 2011 (provided by MSI International) surveyed more than 3,000 consumers across 10 countries and shows varying values of digital assets.
Digital Assets? They include music and video downloads, software programs, photos, career info, personal records, email etc.
Canadians estimated their digital assets on average to be worth $47,074 which is slightly behind Americans ($54,722) and ahead of the UK ($38,360). McAfee’s study also suggested that it would take an average of some 82 hours for most of us to restore our digital assets if lost. That would be the estimate if we were alive. If we are not alive…it’s anyone’s guess if they could be restored at all. Digital assets/Digital passwords need to be backed up and shared somewhere safe
In 2013, they released a new survey specific to Canadian consumers’ attitudes towards online surfing, web security and data protection. This survey showed Canadians placing a value of $32,000 on the digital assets stored on their devices (not sure why the decrease from the earlier study) This study showed that most of us are not taking appropriate precautions to backup and safeguard our digital assets.
Protecting online assests needs to be made more of a priority for our families and that will come from education and having a good handle on secure technology.
McAffee Cares is an Online Safety for Kids program which hopes to train school aged children and adults on ways to stay safe, secure and maintain good ethics in online behavour. You can learn more about their program here http://mcafee.com/onlinesafety.
LegacyTracker has made provisions for safeguarding your digital assets
This is a good article from the Student Lawyer website The choice for aspiring lawyers (& us)
Digital Estate Planning: Is Google Your Next Estate Planner?
This article picks up on a discussion with Jamie Hopkins who is Assistant Professor of Taxation at New York Life Center for Retirement Income about the challenges facing traditional estate planning in relation to the disposition of digital electronic assets
…”the unique nature of digital assets, coupled with the fact that many digital assets will long outlive their owners, presents new challenges to traditional estate planning techniques…”
While many people do not have an estate plan in place for the disposition of their traditional assets, even fewer have a specifically designed digital estate plan to manage their digital assets upon death. By the end of 2012, almost 30 million Facebook accounts had outlived their owners, but only three million had been memorialised  for their deceased owners. This leaves millions of photographs, private messages, and other digital assets stored on the deceased’s Facebook account, which is inaccessible to his or her family and friends. These forgotten pages become a virtual shrine, creating ‘a pixilated Dorian Gray, colored by iPhone photos, ‘pokes’, and ‘LOLs’ — possibly for an eternity.’ As such, the unique nature of digital assets, coupled with the fact that many digital assets will long outlive their owners, present new challenges to traditional estate planning techniques, requiring more complex planning techniques than previously used for the disposition and management of traditional estates.
What will happen if you or one of your loved ones sets up all of their accounts online but the access information is not shared? A family already grieving is subject to even further distress. The last thing you or your family need is a time of grief is the frustration and potential financial loss because proper digital estate planning was not considered especially in light of the fact that there are unique issues that plague digital assets like ownership and transferability.
LegacyTracker does provice for digital estate planning