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Here’s why some digital assets can’t go into your estate plan

On Behalf of | Nov 12, 2021 | Estate Planning |

=When doing your estate planning, you may want to add some of your digital assets. Maybe you have built up collections of movies, video games, music and books. These are all in digital format, but you think of it the same way as hard copies. You paid a lot for all of this over the years, and you want to pass it on to your children. 

While some of it may be allowed in your estate plan, many of these items can’t be passed down. If you find this frustrating and surprising, you’re not alone. But it’s all in the fine print. 

What did you actually buy?

What you need to consider is what you really bought. It may not be what you think. 

Say you have Amazon Prime and you buy a movie. You watch it through the streaming service because that’s more convenient than putting in a DVD, but you still think of it as your movie, just as you would if you were holding that DVD. 

What you likely bought, though, is a license. You don’t own the movie. You own a license to watch it through your account. You are paying for the ability to stream the file whenever you want on your devices, and you can watch it as many times as you want. 

But the license itself is tied to your account and you cannot transfer ownership of the account to someone else when you die. The account needs to be closed, and the license will be lost. 

As you can see, it’s important to really consider the intricacies of estate planning, especially as digital files become more and more common.