How do digital assets factor into estate planning? When someone passes away, an executor gathers, protects, and manages a deceased person’s estate assets. That’s hard to do with digital assets. Hidden digital assets are no different than money stuffed in a coffee can and then buried in the backyard, or coin collections tucked away in dresser drawers. Executors can’t manage what they can’t find.
Digital assets include financial accounts, investment and retirement accounts, social media accounts, collections or libraries of information you’ve purchased, and many other possibilities. Anything you own, whether on paper or in the cloud, may become an estate asset subject to probate.
So, how can you make sure your digital assets are handled correctly after you are gone? First, prepare a list of all your accounts, the location of the account, and how to access it. Financial accounts are particularly important for an executor to access. If you have named beneficiaries for the accounts, include that information on your inventory. Cryptocurrencies, like bitcoin, may be lost if your family and executor cannot locate them.
Social media accounts may be handled differently. Add them to your digital inventory but see if the social media site has a setting that allows the user to choose someone to take over their account if necessary. Sometimes this is called a legacy person or legacy contact.
Finally, include the locations and login information for any sites where you have stored documents, photographs, or any other collections.
Talk to one of our qualified attorneys about how digital assets factor into your estate plan. You can schedule a free initial consultation with our team to determine the right strategy for your unique situation.