Estate Planning for Digital Assets and Online Presence
What Is Estate Planning for Digital Assets? How Does Your Online Presence Impact Asset Protection?
You may not think you need to worry about estate planning for digital assets. Once upon a time we lived in what was perceived of as a purely material world. Assets were things you could see, touch, and feel. Cars, boats, homes, record collections, paintings, financial accounts that were issued bonds and paperwork as proof of ownership were “assets.” Today we live in two worlds: material and digital. Even our financial assets have changed from regular accounts kept in banks and financial institutions. Today, they include cryptocurrency accounts and NFTs (non-fungible tokens). Today, pretty much everyone has digital assets that include everything from Bitcoin to recipes passed down for generations.
A digital asset is any form of online information or files.
An asset could include your website, social media profiles, music, photographs, personal artwork. The list goes on. As our digital world continues to expand and encompass more, it is increasingly important to include digital assets in wills and estate plans. This is true whether for financial or sentimental value.
You may have created an estate plan that does not include digital assets. Whether you have an estate plan or not, you’ll want to begin by understanding the breadth and depth of the digital assets you now own.
When it comes to estate planning for digital assets, start by making a list.
This includes the hardware on which your assets are stored, flash drives, computers, external hard drives, pads, phones, etc. Include the specific asset and where each asset is stored and the password to access.
Then decide how you would want to distribute each asset upon your death. At this point you can formalize your decisions by creating an estate plan.
Depending on your digital assets you may want to assign a digital executor in your estate plan.
If you should become terminally ill or have an accident and be unable to access your accounts, it’s important that someone knows how you want these assets distributed.
While it’s easy to manage digital assets from the palms of our hands. after you pass, they can be nearly impossible for your loved ones to access. Literally billions of dollars in cryptocurrencies have been lost because when the owner died no one else had access to the passwords. The passwords so many cryptocurrency accounts have gone to the graves with their owners that it become important to include digital assets in estate plans.
Give my office a call at 404-370-0696 and let’s get your digital assets included in your existing estate plan or let’s create an estate plan that includes all of your assets, material and digital.