A considerable amount of our lives are becoming digital. How often do you pay with cash at the grocery store? Do you have online accounts? Who has access to these accounts?
These are all questions that should be discussed and answered when you include your digital assets in an estate plan.
Do I Even Have Digital Assets?
When people think about digital assets, they tend to gravitate towards cryptocurrency or social media accounts—especially if pictures are stored there. Not only do digital assets encompass a much more comprehensive range of things, but you may be surprised by just how many digital assets you possess.
Of course, social media and pictures are two examples of digital assets. Cryptocurrency, although digital, would likely be part of the estate. Speak to your attorney to fully understand the laws surrounding this type of currency as you build your estate plan.
Your email, however, is a digital asset. That is an excellent one to point out primarily because your email address may, in essence, not be worth a considerable amount of money—if any at all. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be protected from hackers and people trying to use it to defraud others.
On the reverse, there are digital assets that are worth a significant amount of money. This extends to your bank accounts, subscription-based services, and bonuses accumulated through credit card purchases or even air miles.
Reasons Why You Need A Plan
The laws surrounding digital assets are evolving and will continue to. The basis and foundation of those laws are to prevent others from unauthorized usage of your accounts and ensure your privacy is respected and upheld.
The very laws that protect you will also make it difficult for your family to access your accounts if you hadn’t previously given your consent to do so.
How To Plan
Keep a running list of your digital assets. Every time you sign in for something, write it down (not the password). Bring this list with you when you meet your attorney to discuss your estate and your digital assets.
When you create a will, you will choose an executor. Your executor should have access to things such as your online accounts. Though digital estate plans are relatively new, you can still document your wishes and consent in a will.
Hedtke Law Group
In addition to your digital assets, you should have a plan to pass those on to your chosen beneficiaries. Wills and trusts are powerful tools to accomplish this—and we can explain and create both for our clients. Contact the Hedtke Law Group to schedule your free evaluation if you are ready to begin your estate plan.