Taking Digital Assets into Consideration in Estate Planning

There are many reasons why you would create an estate plan, the most intuitive being to direct how your assets will be distributed. Although this undoubtedly needs to be addressed, there are many other items that should be worked through as well.

For instance, if you have young children or children with special needs, you might want to designate guardians and create plans for how the children will be cared for. Or, you might wish to avoid probate or plan ahead so that you might eventually qualify for Medicaid.

But what about your digital assets? Have you ever thought about what will happen to them when you pass away?

What Are Digital Assets?

More and more, digital assets are becoming a part of estate planning. The term “digital assets” refers to the many online accounts upon with most of us now rely.

Digital assets are not limited to social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram, though their handling should certainly be explored. There’s a wealth of information about us online – for example, a PayPal account, an Amazon account, or even your Netflix subscription – and each of these accounts is linked to your bank account. You likely even bank online, foregoing paper communication altogether. All this information should be taken into consideration in your estate planning.

Steps to Include Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan

  • Make a list of all your digital assets and how to access each one. Is your computer password protected? What accounts do you have online? What about cloud storage?
  • Decide how these assets should be handled. Do they have monetary value? You may want some assets handled differently than others.
  • Name a digital executor. This person will handle your decisions in the above questions.
  • Store the information in a secure location. Common options include giving the information to your attorney, keeping it in a safe, or even in an online storage service.

Discuss Your Estate with Your Lawyer

Creating an estate plan is a big – but important – undertaking. It’s crucial to plan for your future and the future of your loved ones, and working with an estate planning attorney can expedite the task. We can help you decide what works best for your situation, including taking into consideration your digital assets.

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