As Your Digital Assets Grow, Make Sure They’re Covered By Your Estate Plan
By: Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
October 14, 2021
When doing estate planning, many people know that they need to include assets such as their valuable possessions, real estate interests, financial accounts, and businesses. Perhaps you’ve even thought about adding in digital assets.
But the thing about digital assets is that they are only going to continue to expand and grow as more and more of our lives move to computers and in the digital space. There are far more items that would be considered digital assets today than there were five years ago. And five years from now? That number will jump up again.
Because of this, there should be more conversations about what happens to your digital property when you die and how they can and should be incorporated into your estate planning. Here’s what you need to know about the types of digital assets you must include when it comes to estate planning, starting with the basics.
What Are Digital Assets?
You might think you know this, but since it is a definition that keeps expanding to include more things, it is smart to revisit it.
Digital assets are many different types of things, but essentially they are electronic files or records you have stored online, on your computer, or on a mobile device. Anything you keep a digital record of should be considered a digital asset and needs to be included in your estate plan.
Some examples of digital assets include:
- Cryptocurrency Account Access
- Video graphics
- Social Media Accounts
- Online Utility Accounts
- Ecommerce Accounts
- Email Accounts
- Online Chatroom Accounts
- Online Banking Accounts
- Online Loyalty Programs
- Online Subscription Accounts
Basically, any personal information you have stored on your digital devices should be considered a digital asset.
Why Digital Assets Matter
When you include digital assets in your estate plan, you save your family and loved ones time and stress after your death. This is because they will have a written plan for all your digital assets and how you would like for them to be managed. That way, they don’t have to worry about these things going into probate.
Also, including digital in your plan protects your online assets from risks such as fraud, hacking, or identity theft. It gives the loved ones you leave behind peace of mind as well as access to important information at the time of your death.
How Do You Incorporate Assets into Your Digital Estate Plan?
There’s no denying that technology has become a big part of people’s daily lives, so it may seem like second nature to keep important personal information online. Your computer probably automatically saves your passwords, and your smartphone likely keeps track of all your photos. Perhaps your tablet at home stores all the downloaded entertainment you own.
You’ve likely noticed that password requirements for online accounts have become much more strict, too, requiring an ever-increasing number of characters and special symbols. This can make it even easier to forget passwords on accounts where important information is stored.
That’s why you need a digital estate plan.
An experienced estate planning attorney can help guide you in creating a plan for all your assets, including your digital assets. Then you can create an inventory of the digital assets you own, where you want them to go in the event of your death, who the executor of those accounts will be, and make sure the plan is legally binding.
If you need assistance with your estate plan, including your digital assets, then let the experienced attorneys at Haimo Law help you today. They can help keep your estate planning information up to date and plan for all digital assets you have now and in the future.
Barry E. Haimo, Esq.
Strategic Planning With Purpose®
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