As the world becomes increasingly digital, many of our most valuable assets are no longer physical but digital. From online financial accounts to social media profiles and digital photos, it is important to consider how these digital assets will be handled after your passing. Without proper planning, your loved ones may be left without access to these assets or struggle to manage them. This is why it's crucial to include digital assets in your estate plan.
In this post, we'll discuss what digital assets are, why they're important to include in your estate plan, and how to incorporate them.
What are Digital Assets?
Digital assets are any online accounts, files, digital currencies, or information that you own or have access to. They can include:
Social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)
Online banking and investment accounts
Cryptocurrency (like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Tether, Dogecoin, Litecoin, etc.)
Non-fungible Tokens (NFTs)
Digital photos and videos
Music and other media files
Online subscriptions (Netflix, Spotify, etc.)
Digital documents (tax returns, legal documents, etc.)
Why Include Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan?
Including digital assets in your estate plan can help ensure that your loved ones have access to and can manage your digital property after you pass away. Without proper planning, digital assets can be lost, deleted, or forgotten. Here are some reasons why you need to consider including them in your estate plan:
Access to Online Accounts: Your online accounts may contain important information or assets that need to be accessed after your passing. Without access to these accounts, your loved ones may struggle to manage your digital assets or even pay bills.
Protection of Personal Information: Digital assets can include sensitive personal information like financial account numbers, login credentials, and personal identification information. Ensuring that your digital assets are protected and passed on to trusted individuals can help prevent identity theft and fraud.
Avoiding Legal Issues: In some cases, digital assets can be subject to legal disputes after your passing. By including them in your estate plan, you can avoid legal issues and ensure that your digital property is passed on according to your wishes.
How to Incorporate Digital Assets into Your Estate Plan?
Incorporating digital assets into your estate plan is an important step in protecting your digital property. Here are some steps to take:
Take Inventory of Your Digital Assets: Make a list of all your digital assets, including login credentials, account numbers, and any other relevant information. Consider using a password manager to keep track of login credentials and important information.
Appoint a Digital Executor: Appoint someone to act as your digital executor. This person should be responsible for managing your digital assets after your passing. Make sure to give them access to all the information they need to manage your digital assets.
Include Digital Assets in Your Will: Your will should include provisions for your digital assets. You can specify who should receive access to your accounts and what should happen to your digital property after your passing.
Create a Digital Asset Trust: Consider creating a trust specifically for your digital assets. This can help ensure that your digital property is managed according to your wishes and passed on to your loved ones.
Update Your Estate Plan Regularly: Make sure to update your estate plan regularly to reflect any changes in your digital assets. This can help ensure that your loved ones have access to your digital property and can manage it effectively.
Digital assets are an increasingly important part of our lives, and it's crucial to consider how they will be handled after our passing. By including digital assets in your estate plan, you can ensure that your loved ones have access to and can manage your digital property according to your wishes. Take the time to create a comprehensive plan for your digital assets, and update it regularly to reflect any changes in your digital property.
Contact us for help with adding digital assets to your estate plan. Most attorneys lack the familiarity to help with digital assets, however we (at Lopes Law) have extensive experience with digital assets (especially with cryptocurrencies and NFTs).