Don’t Forget Your Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan
When thinking about making an estate plan, financial and physical assets often come to mind first — bank accounts, life insurance policies, real estate, cars, personal effects, etc. Increasingly, however, more and more of our personal assets are moving into the online realm, and those assets are becoming more central to our lives all the time. It is thus necessary now to consider digital assets in when making your estate plan. If you’d like to incorporate your digital assets into your estate plan, a Branson estate planning lawyer can help you get started.
Types of Digital Assets
Digital assets comprise any content or data that can be stored in a digital asset. Some of the most common of those include:
- Email accounts
- Social media accounts
- Online bank accounts
- E-commerce accounts
- Photos, videos, and audio files
- Cloud storage accounts
- Domain names
- Blog posts
- Online store accounts
- Text messages
- Cryptocurrency keys
- Gaming accounts
- Smartphone apps
In a broader sense, digital assets can also encompass hardware used to store data, such as computers, tablets, phones, digital cameras, and flash drives.
How to Make a Digital Estate Plan
Inventory Your Digital Assets
The first step in making a digital estate plan is to take stock of which digital assets you own. However, this is often more difficult than it sounds, as most people have more digital assets than they think they do. Once you have made an inventory of your assets, write down your username and password for each asset. The best way to do this securely is to use a password manager.
Decide What You Want to Happen With Your Digital Assets
Decide how you would like your assets to be managed in the event of your death or incapacitation. For example, if you have an online account that generates income, do you want the account to be closed or do you want someone else to continue running it? If you have a blog, do you want it to remain up or be removed? For social media accounts, you may also want to consider pre-writing a “final post” to be published to your followers by your digital executor.
Appoint a Digital Executor
A digital executor is a person you appoint to settle your digital estate. In Missouri, a fiduciary under a power of attorney, a personal representative, or a trustee may be granted authority over your digital estate. Alternatively, you may appoint a different executor for your digital estate if you would feel more comfortable doing so.
Review and Update Periodically
Digital estates change frequently. For example, you may open many new bank accounts, social media accounts, or cloud storage accounts over the course of your life. It is thus beneficial to review your digital estate plan periodically to ensure that it covers all of your digital assets.
Create Your Digital Estate Plan With a Branson Estate Planning Lawyer
Digital assets are critical components of nearly everyone’s estate. To ensure that you plan appropriately for them, you should seek the counsel of an experienced attorney. For more information, please contact a Branson estate planning lawyer at LifeGen Law Group by calling 844-216-1195 or using our online contact form.