Can you pass your digital products to your heirs?

On Behalf of | May 4, 2022 | Estate Planning |

As you do your estate planning, you’re likely putting most of your physical products into your will. These include major items like cars and homes, but you may even spell out what people should do with your movies, video games, pictures, music and other products. 

This is easy enough when those items are in physical forms, such as on DVDs or CDs. But it gets more complicated if you use online services to buy digital products. You could have invested thousands of dollars in downloads of songs, movies and video games, but you don’t actually own a physical CD for any of them. Are you able to pass these products on to your heirs?

It depends on the terms of the agreement

The key thing to check here is the agreement that you signed when you created that account. The terms and conditions will specify whether or not you are allowed to pass the account on to someone else.

Generally speaking, however, this is prohibited and the terms may even say that you don’t actually own the products. What you’ve purchased is not a movie, but a license to watch that movie through a particular service whenever you want. 

But this license is only issued to you and cannot be transferred to someone else. If your terms were written this way, then there’s no way to pass those digital products on and you would be breaching the terms of the agreement to simply tell your heirs about your usernames and passwords.

As more and more assets become digital, estate planning is only going to get more complex, and it’s very important for everyone to understand what options they have.