Planning Your Digital Estate: Everything You Need to Know

Your digital property – also known as digital assets – make up your digital estate. This is any information about you that is available in digital format, such as on the Internet or on an electronic storage drive and also includes the information required to access the asset.

When planning your digital estate, your property can be divided into the following categories:

  • Personal digital property with some form of monetary or economic value.

  • Personal digital property.

  • Digital business property.

Personal digital property with value can include things such as:

  • Computers, hard drives & USB drives, your smartphone, tablet, digital camera and other types of digital devices.

  • Blogs or websites that create income for you.

  • Domain names you own.

  • Intellectual property such as photographs, music or art that creates income for you.

  • Accounts such as bank accounts, PayPal, loyalty programs and any account with a credit balance in your favor.

Personal digital property includes:

  • Data or information stores electronically in the cloud or on some sort of physical drive or device.

  • Computers, hard drives & USB drives, your smartphone, tablet, digital camera and other types of digital devices.

  • Online accounts, such as social media, email, photo sharing, video gaming, websites, blogs, shopping accounts and online storage accounts.

  • Intellectual property, such as trademarks, copyrighted materials and code.

  • Domain names.

Digital business property may include:

  • Online accounts registered to a business.

  • Digital property owned by an organization.

  • Client information and history.

  • Assets belonging to an online store, such as your own online store, Etsy, Amazon or eBay.

  • Mailing lists, newsletter subscription lists or email lists with your business’ clients.

Domains

Many internet users own their own domain names for multiple reasons, including investment purposes or live sites. If you own any, they count as your digital property and in fact, are likely to hold some sort of monetary value.

Digital intellectual property

Any sort of digital intellectual property that you have protected in some way is classified as your own digital property, regardless if there are physical assets to the property. Many variations of digital intellectual property may have monetary value.

Hardware as digital property

There are various different types of devices, drives and other hardware that classifies as digital property as they contain digital information either created by you or that is about you. The hardware or device itself may also have monetary value. Hardware includes devices such as computers, tablets, smartphones, hard drives, music & playlists, e-readers and e-books.

Information and Data Stored Electronically

From videos and photographs, to emails, text messages and instant messages, and legal documents to medical records – these all qualify as digital property. They can be stores on a physical drive such as computer or smartphone, or electronically such as iCloud.

Your online accounts will also contain many bits of your personal information, which is also considered your digital property, along with the information required to access these accounts. These can include:

  • Skype, FaceTime, Instant Messaging, Whatsapp and any chats or data stored on these apps or programs.

  • Emails

  • Social media, including Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and LinkedIn, along with anything you have posted to these sites.

  • Photo and video sharing apps such as YouTube and Instagram, and the content on these.

  • Online shopping accounts and all the personal information you have stored in these accounts, such as order history, credit and credit card information.

  • Video gaming accounts, as well as any in-app purchases and account information.

  • Online storage accounts and the information stored.

  • Websites and blogs, and any content or writing you have posted on these platforms.

  • Customer loyalty programs.