Photos are memories that are handed down from generation to generation. For most, the days of assembling bulky photo albums and storing shoe boxes and bags full of loose photos are over. While we all may have hundreds of digital photos, for many, the photos are a digital mess with virtual piles in many places. Your photos may be stored on multiple computers, tablets, or smart phones, or in the cloud. Identifying where all of your photos are located, figuring out how to get all of your digital photos in one place, regularly backing up those digital files, and leaving instructions as to where your photos are and what is be done with the photos will help ensure that those memories are available to succeeding generations.

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Consider the overwhelming number of photos you may have by the end of your life. Sometimes less can be more and the reality may be that a loved one may never find that photo of that special moment of your 2016 summer vacation. Leaving a huge number of photos to your children may be more of a burden than a gift. As hard as it may be, consider culling through your photos and reducing the number of each child’s birthday photos to the best photos of each day. If you want to keep all of the photos, you can move the extras to a separate folder or drive.

Most importantly, back up your hard drives. All hard drives have a life and will eventually fail. When a device is upgraded to a newer version or a hard drive fails, your photos may be lost forever.

Your computers, phones, and tablets are also considered tangible personal property, much like your clothes, furniture and furnishings, and jewelry. Whoever you have designated to receive your personal property when you die will also inherit these devices and the pictures and videos stored on the devices. You may wish to instruct your digital trustee to make copies of pictures or videos stored on these devices to give to others before the device is turned over to the next owner.

Learn more about other aspects of Your Digital Afterlife in the Next Issue of Perspectives. Subscribe here.

Filed under: Estate Planning

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