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Family Probate: Distributing Digital Real Estate Among Family Members

When a family member dies, one of the main things that families focus on is property and real estate in the real world. What many people tend to overlook is the digital property that people may own. The digital world is filled with all types of property and it can make going through probate a little more complicated. This is why it's important to know about the different types of digital real estate and accounts. Once you start figuring out different types of digital assets, a probate law attorney can help you navigate the proper ways to gain ownership and distribute them among family members.

Website Ownership

There are billions of web pages on the Internet and chances are that your loved one may have owned a domain name. Owning a domain name comes with several different elements. The website name itself may be worth money and is like owning a piece of the internet. If the website was active, then it may have generated a form of income through advertisements, sales, and other sources of income. A probate lawyer can help distribute these various parts of the website to the proper family members. Digital contracts and ownership documents can also be obtained so that the website domain is not lost and can properly get passed along to the right person. If a person owned multiple website domains, then those domains may get evenly distributed among family members. In some cases, a probate lawyer may find that a domain name was actually leased and not purchased. In these cases, the domain name will likely return back to the company or a new leasing agreement will need to be arranged.

Digital Media Accounts

In the past, an estate may have consisted of CD collections, DVD collections, and boxes of photos that were spread out among family members. Now, things are a little different in the world of digital media. A probate lawyer can help you and your family sort through all types of digital accounts. This includes digital movie downloads, digital music libraries, and digital photo libraries. In some instances, all of these types of files may be located in a single cloud-based service. Depending on the licensing for specific entries, each family member may be able to obtain a copy of all the digital content. If copyright rules prevent this for music or movies, then personal photos can be shared among everyone involved in the estate.

Digital Payment Accounts

Along with bank accounts, cash savings, and other forms of savings, a probate lawyer can help you and your family sort out any type of digital payment accounts. This includes common things like a PayPal account or Google Wallet. It's also important to consider digital forms of currency like Bitcoins. If needed, a family member's Bitcoin account can be converted to American currency and split up among multiple family members. It may seem complicated dealing with these digital forms of money, but a probate lawyer can help sort it out and mix it in with any other types of bank accounts.

Digital Games & Accounts

Today's world of gaming includes app downloads, subscription memberships, and a lot of digital downloads. Along with the hardware for a video game console, a probate lawyer can help sort out any digital game downloads that can be owned. Accounts can be merged or the log in information can be given to a specific family member. Depending on the types of games, these accounts can be very valuable and worth a lot of money. Getting a full breakdown of the accounts will make it easy to sort out who gets what.

Consulting with a probate attorney at a firm like Leon J Teichner & Associates, P.C. will help you figure out all of these details and keep everything as organized as possible.


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