In today’s digital age, our lives are intertwined with a vast array of digital assets. These assets hold financial and sentimental value, from online financial accounts to social media profiles. Imagine what can happen to those accounts when you die. Incorporating digital assets into your estate planning is crucial to ensure their secure transfer and protect your legacy.
Understand terms of service and legalities
Familiarize yourself with the terms of service and policies of each platform or service provider that hosts your digital assets. Some providers may have specific guidelines or restrictions on transferring or accessing digital assets after death. Understanding these legalities will help you plan accordingly. It will also ensure compliance with relevant laws and regulations.
Create a digital asset management plan
You can outline what you wish to do with your digital assets upon your incapacitation or death with a digital asset management plan. Specify whether you want certain accounts to be closed or archived. You might want some accounts transferred to specific individuals – or you can opt to delete them altogether.
Below are examples of digital assets that you may want to include in your estate plan:
- Online banking and investment accounts
- Email and cloud storage accounts
- Social media profile
- Digital photos
- Intellectual property
- Other digital possessions of value
Create a comprehensive inventory of these assets. You can list the platforms or service providers, usernames, and passwords. However, make sure to store this information in a secure location. You may consider using a password manager or a physical safe.
Appoint a digital executor
Designate a digital executor or personal representative in your estate plan. This person should be trustworthy and tech savvy. They must be capable of managing and transferring your digital assets according to your wishes. Provide them with clear instructions to carry out their responsibilities effectively.
Incorporate digital assets into your will or trust
You can also update your will or trust. You may include provisions for the transfer and management of your digital assets. Identify which assets you want to include, how you wish to handle them, and who should receive access or ownership. You may also consider reaching out to an estate planning attorney. They can help ensure your digital asset provisions align with applicable laws and regulations.
Including digital assets in your estate planning is vital in today’s digital world. Without proper planning, these assets may be inaccessible, lost or subject to potential disputes, potentially causing financial and emotional hardships for your loved ones.