What are digital assets?
Digital assets encompass a wide range of items, including but not limited to:
1. Social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms store valuable memories and personal information.
2. Email accounts: Gmail, Yahoo, and others may contain important communications and sensitive data.
3. Online banking and investments: managing financial assets in the digital realm is common, and it is vital to ensure access and knowledge of these accounts are maintained.
4. Crypto currency: the rise of crypto currencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum introduce a new layer of complexity to estate planning.
5. Digital photos and videos: the proliferation of smart phones has led to a vast collection of digital memories.
6. Domain names and websites: for those with online businesses or personal websites, addressing the future of these assets is crucial.
Estate planning for digital assets:
1. Create a digital inventory:
Start by compiling a comprehensive list of your digital assets, including usernames, passwords, and any necessary recovery information. Store this information securely and share it with your designated executor or trustee.
2. Specify digital asset handling in your will:
Clearly articulate your wishes regarding the distribution, deletion, or preservation of specific to digital assets in your will. Be as specific as possible to avoid confusion.
3. Consider a digital executor:
Appoint a trusted individual as your digital executor to manage and execute your digital wishes. This person should be tech savvy and understand the intricacies of the digital landscape.
4. Understand terms of service agreements:
Familiarize yourself with the terms of service for each digital platform you use. Some platforms have specific procedures for handling accounts after the user’s death.
5. Use digital asset planning tools:
Explore specialized digital estate planning tools and services that assist in organizing and managing your digital assets. These platforms often provide a secure way to store sensitive information and share access with designated individuals.
6. Regularly update your digital estate plan:
Given the ever-changing nature of the digital world, it is crucial to revisit and update your digital estate plan regularly. New accounts, platforms, or changes in your digital habits may necessitate adjustments to your client.
Written by Barrie Hayes