Estate Planning for Digital Assets

Estate Planning for Digital Assets

Our lives have become increasingly intertwined with technology. From online banking and social media to cryptocurrency and digital photos, we accumulate a significant number of digital assets. Consider what will happen to these digital assets after you’re gone.

What are digital assets?

Digital assets encompass a range of online and electronically stored content and information, including:

  • Social media accounts: Social media accounts might include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other platforms.
  • Email: These accounts often include significant personal, sensitive information.
  • Online banking and investment accounts: Don’t forget your online checking, savings and investment accounts.
  • Digital photos and videos: These items can be stored on your computer, cloud services or social media.
  • Cryptocurrency: Crypto may include Bitcoin, Ethereum and other digital currencies.
  • Digital media: Collections of digital media often include e-books, music, television and movies.
  • Business and personal websites: This category encompasses domain names, blogs and e-commerce sites.
  • Intellectual property: You may have copyrighted content, patents and/or trademarks.

Why make a plan for your digital assets?

Although many people don’t think of digital assets the same way they might think of personal items or real property, there are a few reasons you should make a plan:

  • Preserve your digital legacy: Digital assets often have sentimental value, including family photos and cherished memories. Proper estate planning can ensure that your loved ones have access to these files after your passing.
  • Protect your financial interests: Many digital assets have monetary value, such as cryptocurrency or online investment accounts. Without a plan in place, these assets may be lost or forgotten, depriving your beneficiaries of their rightful inheritance.
  • Safeguard your personal information: Email accounts and other digital platforms may contain personal information, financial data or confidential communications.

Estate planning considerations

Here’s what to consider when making a digital estate plan:

  • Inventory: Start by creating a comprehensive list of your digital assets, including account names, login credentials and any instructions for their management or distribution. Store this list in a secure place. Consider sharing this information—or at least where to find it after your death—with your executor.
  • Password management: Consider using a secure password manager to store and share your login credentials with your digital executor or trusted individuals. Update this information regularly.
  • Specific bequests: Clearly outline your intentions for specific digital assets in your will or trust. For example, you might specify who should receive access to your social media accounts, digital photos or cryptocurrency holdings.
  • Platform policies: Familiarize yourself with the terms of service for digital platforms and online accounts. Some services have specific procedures for transferring or deleting accounts after the owner’s death. Complying with these policies can simplify the process for your executor.
  • Legal documents: Work with Dworken & Bernstein to incorporate digital asset provisions into your estate planning documents, ensuring they align with the laws and regulations in your jurisdiction.
  • Regularly update: As your digital assets grow and change, remember to regularly review and update your estate plan.

To create your own comprehensive estate plan, reach out to Dworken & Bernstein to schedule a consultation.

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