Are your digital Assets worth more than your car?

It’s certainly possible…

The most recent survey results from McAfee (yes the Internet Security Organization) perhaps should be of no surprise in that our use of technology and our accumulation of all things digital is on the rise. …in a Big way. But the estimated value as of the 2013 survey may yet astound you; The average total value of our digital files in Canada is now estimated to be $32K. (The average of all countries surveyed basis is $35K )

Digital assets ? They include assets like:

  • Personal photos, videos
  • Personal records including health information, financial records, career information, personal projects/hobbies, email accounts etc.
  • Entertainment files including music, TV shows, e-books, video games, apps etc
  • Business Information which could include financial statements, customer data, accounting or payroll detail, domain names, websites, blogs,
  • Social Media sites & Personal Blogs

 How did the estimated value of our Digital Property get so high ? 

  • 88% of consumers own multiple digital devices
  • 62% of consumers own 3 or more digital devices
  • 20% of consumers own 5 or more digital devices
  • 51% of consumers spend 15 hours or more on their digital devices for personal use  each week.
  • Canadians store some 2,584 digital files on average on at least one digital device
  • 51% of the digital assets held by consumers were considered to be impossible to retrieve if lost or not backed up properly
  • 77% of Canadian consumers listed identity theft and fraud as top security concerns but 17% of those consumers do not have comprehensive security software in place on all of their digital devices (14% globally)

Security software and backup procedures are critical and should be worth the cost by now for Canadians, which the survey also notes is the primary reason given by those who don’t have any security software in place

LegacyTracker will not be able to recover your digital assets should they be compromised by a virus or security issue but it does provide protection in the way of allowing you to safely store your online Usernames & Passwords alongside instructions about your Digital Assets

Digital Estate Planning is Important …

Technology in most cases advances more quickly than law and that’s certainly the case with regards to digital asset protection and Digital Estate Plans. In the not to distant future or for some of us now, we could envision that Digital Executors will have to be considered to handle digital assets specific and separately from other assets. But at minimum today, it’s important to at least give reasonable consideration & recognition to your Digital Assets because No standard laws exist regarding digital property rights. And more unfortunately,  online service providers offer varying rules about your rights and about sharing access with another user regardless of the circumstance.

User agreements for digital accounts often will sometimes prohibit users from sharing access with another user no matter if it’s a family member, a business partner or an heir. Sad stories are in great supply about family members who can’t access or take down social media accounts of their loved ones who have passed away. it’s important to give consideration to not just providing an inventory that identifies your digital assets but also access information and some form of written permission or authorization for that access & specific instructions as to your wishes for dealing with your digital assets after your death. It’s a recent but fast growing area of concern that you should seek legal advice about.