Ethan R. Okura
Hawai‘i Herald Columnist

When a loved one passes away, probably the furthest thoughts from your mind at that time are: How do I access and preserve his or her digital assets of value? And, what are their passwords?

First, let’s define “digital assets.” Wikipedia defines “digital assets” as “anything that exists in a binary format and comes with the right to use. . . . Digital assets are classified as images, multimedia and textual content files.” In plain English, that means computer and other electronic files that you have the right to use (such as your photos, videos, word documents, music in .mp3 or other digital format, etc., whether on local computers, smart phones, tablets or hosted “in the cloud” by other companies’ servers that are connected to the internet). However, when we’re talking about estate planning, we need to expand the strict definition to include not only the files, but also the accounts to which you have access, such as email, Paypal, Facebook, YouTube, your own domain names and websites, online stores and marketing referral businesses and digital currencies such as Bitcoin.

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