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Estate planning for digital assets

On Behalf of | Apr 9, 2024 | Estate Planning |

Estate planning involves making plans for the transfer of one’s estate after death. An estate includes all the property, money and personal items that a person owns. In recent years, digital assets have become a significant part of many estates.

Just like physical assets, it is important to plan for what will happen to these digital assets after one’s death.

Understanding digital assets

Digital assets are not just about monetary value; they also include sentimental items like photos or videos and practical items like the content of email accounts. Making a comprehensive list of these assets, including how to access them (like passwords or security questions), is an important starting point.

Deciding what should happen to your digital assets

Once you have a list of your digital assets, the next step is to decide what should happen to them. Some digital assets, like cryptocurrency, may have significant financial value and need careful consideration about who should inherit them. You may need to arrange to close or memorialize other assets, like social media accounts. For personal items like digital photos or emails, consider who might value them and whether to share or delete them.

Making your wishes known

Several strategies exist to communicate these wishes. For example, you might include instructions in a will. However, the will becomes a public document after death, so avoid including sensitive information like passwords directly in it. Instead, you might use a separate document to list all your digital assets and their access information and then include instructions in your will about who should receive this document.

Keeping information safe but accessible

Safeguarding your digital assets and their access information is important, but these details also need to be accessible to the right people after your death. Consider using a digital management tool or service that allows you to store this information securely but provides a way for your designated person to access it when necessary.

Regular updates

Digital assets can change frequently. You may create new accounts or change passwords and the value of digital assets can fluctuate. Make sure to update your estate plan regularly to reflect any changes in your digital life. This ensures that your wishes remain clear and that all your important assets receive proper attention.

Estate planning for digital assets is a relatively new but increasingly important aspect of estate management. Remember to ensure that your loved ones handle your digital legacy according to your wishes.