While the coming of the digital era has increased accessibility to digital media and cleared up space on our shelves, it has also created a unique set of questions in the world of estate planning and administration.  Whether you have accumulated a digital copy of every Beatles song ever recorded, every movie or book in the Lord of the Rings saga, or a collection of digital photos from your travels around the world, the distribution of your digital assets is something that you should turn your mind to.  The term “digital asset” is used broadly.  It can include any digital form or content with ownership rights attached.  Some digital content you may think you own is in fact licensed.  These licenses often limit the use of the content, meaning that despite the fact that it is still in your estate’s possession, no legal right to use the content survives death. Your Will is a document which may outline specific bequests you wish to make to certain individuals.  The remainder of your assets will be encompassed by the “residue”, which will be distributed by your Estate Trustee in accordance with the instructions set out in your Will. When instructing your lawyer with respect to the drafting of your Will, consider the digital assets you have accumulated and how you wish to distribute them (keeping in mind that you may not own all the digital assets in your possession).  You should ask yourself questions such as “What digital assets do I own?” and “Do I want them to be distributed in the same manner and as my other personal possessions (e.g. your clothing, household items, motor vehicle)?”   It may help to compile an ongoing list of digital assets.  Finally, and in our opinion most importantly, if you have any questions with respect to this evolving area of law, just ask!

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