We have to face the fact that our lives are becoming more digitized. With technology taking over, it’s important to consider your digital assets in your estate plan and how we have been traditionally planning for our futures may need to change. Our digital assets are becoming more valuable than some of our physical assets. So what is considered a digital asset and how do we protect them?
Digital assets are files that are stored electronically and do not have any physical properties. This is a broad term that has many inclusions. When it comes to your estate plan, here are some important digital assets that you may want to think about including in an update to your estate plan:
- Email accounts
- Business or personal websites
- Social media accounts
- Photos or videos stored online or electronically
- Online accounts with anything of value (like airline miles, reward points, purchased Ebooks/music)
Including Digital Assets in Your Estate Planning
Traditionally only physical property and assets have been included in estate planning documents. But with the items listed above becoming more prominent in how we live our lives, we need to think about what happens to these items once we are gone. For some, these electronic assets may still grow in value, even after death. We are shifting our thinking to include digital assets when it comes to estate planning, as it’s important to consider who would be in charge of these accounts and files once you’re gone.
How to Plan for Your Digital Assets:
- Make a list of your accounts along with usernames and passwords.
- Designate beneficiaries for your accounts.
- Store your information safely (LastPass, 1Password) and tell executors how to access the information.
- Consider gifting Cryptocurrency for tax purposes.
- Check accounts for legacy options (Facebook, for example, has an option to name someone to take over your account when you pass).
- Plan for sentimental files (family photos, videos, intellectual property).
Secure Your Digital Assets with Your Estate Plan
It’s important when creating or updating your estate plan, to consider these digital assets that typically aren’t thought of. Your wealth inventory is a great place to add your digital assets and keep them organized for your executors and beneficiaries. Aside from storing passwords and such in a secure online format, it’s advised to create a physical copy of your accounts with your usernames and passwords. If your estate planning documents don’t already include naming beneficiaries for your digital assets, or a specific Digital Executor, consider updating your plan ASAP.
We are here to help! If you have any questions about how to include your digital assets in your estate plan please contact us.
Disclaimer: This article is intended to serve as a general summary of the issues outlined therein. While this article may include general guidance, it is not intended as, nor is a substitute for, qualified legal advice. Your review or receipt of this article by Lexern Law Offices, Ltd. (the “LLG”) or any of its attorneys does not create an attorney-client relationship between you and the LLG. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors of the article and does not reflect the opinion of the LLG.