When you think about estate planning, what comes to mind? For most people, it’s business assets, property, and/or valuables that we want to pass down or protect after we are gone. In general, people don’t immediately think about our digital assets, but maybe we should. Read this post to learn more about how to be prepared for estate planning in the digital age.
Estate Planning with Digital Assets
It can be hard to imagine that the digital assets you’ve amassed over your life will be worth anything when you’re gone. But what if they were? What if the photos, videos, and music files that make up a big part of your life are worth something to your family? And beyond sentimentality, some digital assets have a financial worth you may not consider.
Digital assets include anything with a file attached to it that’s stored on a computer, mobile device, or cloud storage. This includes email and social media accounts, domain names, photos, and videos, as well as cryptocurrency, digital payment accounts, digital savings or rewards programs, and NFTs.
When it comes to including these in your estate planning, the good news is that you can easily give your heirs transfer access to these accounts after death.
Tips for a Digital Legacy
- Make sure all of the online accounts you have—email accounts, blogs, social media sites, etc.. and have passwords that aren’t easily guessed. Be sure to keep track of this information in a secure place.
- Create an inventory of all of your digital assets including where they are located and who has access to them. This will help make sure everything gets passed on properly and keep things from getting lost in a sea of social media posts or email threads. Consider setting up an account specifically for these assets.
- Use a password manager to create unique passwords for each of your accounts, and store all of your passwords in one place so they’re easy to access when needed—and easy for family members to access after death or incapacity.
- Make sure all devices have an automatic backup routine set up on them so that if something happens with one device, there will still be backups available through other devices or online services such as Google Drive or Dropbox.
Integrating Digital Assets into Your Estate Plan
You can set up a will or trust that specifies who should receive access to your digital information. Then make sure that person knows what they’re getting—and where it’s stored! It’s also important to have a backup of all of this information somewhere safe so your heirs will have access in case something happens to the original copies.
If you don’t have a plan in place for your digital assets, it’s likely that these accounts will be closed after your death. If that happens, the people who inherit your estate won’t be able to access them—which means they’ll lose out on any money, benefits, or information stored in those accounts!
If you are interested in creating a will or trust with an estate planning attorney or amending your existing estate plan to include digital assets, get in touch with our team at Smith Barid today.