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September 29, 2016

The Legacy of your Digital Photos

Please read important disclosures HERE.

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.


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.


This memorandum provides a general overview of a particular estate planning topic and is not intended to be an exhaustive summary of every practical element of that topic. Many important elements of each subject are not discussed herein. This memorandum is for informational purposes only and is not intended to be used as a general guide to estate planning or as a source of any specific recommendations, and makes no implied or express recommendations concerning the manner in which any individual’s account should or would be handled, as appropriate estate planning strategies depend upon the individual’s specific objectives and circumstances. It is the responsibility of any person or persons in possession of this material to inform himself or herself of and to seek appropriate advice regarding any investment, financial planning, or estate planning decisions, legal requirements, and taxation regulations which might be relevant to the topic of this article or the subscription, purchase, holding, exchange, redemption or disposal of any investments.

Estate planning law changes frequently and the information presented within may no longer be current. Please do not rely on the information provided herein without first consulting an attorney.

This memorandum does not constitute a solicitation in any jurisdiction in which such a solicitation is unlawful or to any person to whom it is unlawful. Moreover, this memorandum neither constitutes an offer to enter into an investment agreement with the recipient nor an invitation to respond by making an offer to enter into an investment agreement.

Opinions expressed are current opinions as of September 2016 and are subject to change. No part of this material may, without the prior written consent of Bingham, Osborn & Scarborough, LLC, be (i) copied, photocopied or duplicated in any form, by any means, or (ii) distributed to any person that is not an employee, officer, director, or authorized agent of the recipient.

Filed under: Estate Planning

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