Russ Cook & Associates, PC
view our Practice areas

Estate administration tricky if digital assets aren't included

Careful preparation of digital assets is becoming an important part of estate planning. Digital assets may include sentimental items, like pictures and posts on social media, or assets with financial value, such as artistic photography, electronic currency, or revenue-generating blogs or websites. If people in Tennessee manage online stores on eBay, Etsy or other sites, they may have digital assets to consider. Preparing those assets can assist one's heirs and representatives during estate administration.

Understanding the evolving definition of a digital asset is important. For example, books or music downloaded onto one's computer are not digital assets because the person downloading them has only a license to use them, not ownership of the item. Creating a detailed list of the digital items for which the rights are owned is the first step. This inventory should include the addresses, usernames, passwords and security access information for all online accounts.

Some accounts like Facebook have policies in place for the fate of an account when its owner dies or becomes incapacitated. However, like many things in the electronic world, those policies change as laws develop. Nevertheless, the person who clearly states his or her intentions for any digital property is more likely to have those assets disposed of according to those wishes than someone who fails to formally address them. Using a will or trust may be essential in some instances where federal privacy laws forbid the transfer of access without legal permission.

The executor of an estate may find a difficult task ahead if undertaking estate administration without the ability to access certain digital assets. Because laws in Tennessee may vary from other states and change frequently, it is best to have legal advice when preparing one's estate or attempting to administer the estate of a loved one. An experienced attorney can provide such assistance.

Source:, "Tips for Putting Your Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan," Bob Carlson, July 28, 2017

No Comments

Leave a comment
Comment Information

What Our Clients Are Saying About Us

  • “Everyone we came in contact with was wonderful. The staff and Russ treated us like family at all times.”

    - June S.
  • “Being new to the area having moved from out of state, I was searching for an attorney to assist in elder estate planning for my mother. I was referred to Russ Cook & Associates and found the firm as a whole and Russ Cook himself to be very helpful and accommodating to my needs, as well as experienced and very knowledgeable on the matter I was seeking assistance. I would definitely recommend Russ Cook and Associates.”

    - Brad H.
  • “Mr. Cook and his staff were phenomenal to work with on my will. They are extremely professional and friendly and made the process seamless. They go above and beyond!”

    - Amber C.
  • “Russ took the time to answer my questions by email, so that I knew exactly what would take place when I visited his office and his time as well as mine was used efficiently. I appreciated his thoroughness and his professionalism, as well as that of his staff.”

    - JoAnn G.
  • “Overwhelmingly positive experience.”

    - Stephen W.
Email Us For A Response

Schedule An Initial Consultation Today

Contact us today to schedule a consultation by sending us an email or by calling 615-200-9117.
We assist clients throughout the Nashville area.

Bold labels are required.

Contact Information

The use of the Internet or this form for communication with the firm or any individual member of the firm does not establish an attorney-client relationship. Confidential or time-sensitive information should not be sent through this form.


Privacy Policy

Brand Contact

5141 Virginia Way
Suite 220
Brentwood, TN 37027

Phone: 615-200-9117
Fax: 615-370-5938
Brentwood Law Office Map

Office Hours:
Monday: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Tuesday: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Wednesday: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Thursday: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM
Friday: 8:00 AM – 4:30 PM

Summer Hours Office:
8:00 AM - 1:00 PM on Fridays
May 24th Through August 30th

Map Image