We cannot overlook how much digitalized the world is right now. Almost everyone has digital assets, such as web domains, social media accounts, and crypto currency wallets, amongst others. You may ask, how is a social media account an asset?
Several people have monetized the social media, receiving thousands of dollars yearly from their YouTube channels. Now, if the owner dies, should everything go into extinction just like that? Should their bitcoin wallet be lost forever?
You surely don’t want that. You may have a child who deserves a better life, and they could have it if you let such assets pass down to them at your death. Just as we do estate planning for our houses and bank accounts, it’s also necessary to carry out estate planning for our digital assets so that those you trust can gain access and prevent them from getting lost forever.
Examples of digital assets
- Digital accounts where you hold other forms of virtual currency which can be converted to hard cash
- Rights to digitalized works, such as a motion picture, game, etc.
- Monetized social media accounts
- Blogs and their content
- Online videos, pictures, or music.
- And lots more.
So how do we incorporate these digital assets into our estate plan? What are the estate planning strategies available in the digital world today?
Documentation of all your digital assets
Make an accurate documentation of all your digital assets; log in usernames and passwords as well as their location. To enable you keep all of this information in one place, you may set up an account with a digital password manager.
Designate a digital executor to your digital assets.
You are to provide your digital executor with log in details and passwords to your accounts, websites, emails, etc. And provide instructions on how he or she is to manage these online platforms after your death. You would be leaving your login details to someone when you pass away. Now you want to be sure that person is someone you can trust. However, you can always specify how you want the digital assets managed by your executor before passing down to the beneficiary. But most importantly, you have to be sure no one else has access to your login details. If there is, then fraud and theft wouldn’t be too far away.
Your email is one of your most important digital asset as it often contains a host of log in information to other online accounts which you may be handling, including banking and bill payment. Ensuring that the password to your email account is accessible to only your most trusted loved one or Digital Executor at your death.
Remember that not all of your online assets may be well handled by one person. In fact, it may be risky putting everything into a single individual’s hands, as a wide range of personal information are often stored online.
Consider what your wishes are. You may leave your social media accounts to be handled by one person, while your online business may be better managed by another. Designating multiple Digital Executors becomes ideal.
Why you need estate planning for your digital assets
There are criminal and data privacy laws that prevent anyone from accessing an account unauthorized. As such, no matter how much good faith your spouse or child has, they cannot access your digital assets except you give them the allowance via your estate plan.
Talk to an estate planning attorney today
Planning for your digital assets doesn’t have to be difficult. Consulting an estate lawyer is the only way to ensure all appropriate formalities are with proper protocol. With this, you stand at better chances of achieving your goals of estate plans with its adequate execution. On the other hand, doing it yourself option may leave you and your loved ones to chances of revoked, invalid and void estate plan documents.
To ensure you get everything right, talk to an attorney near you.