Digital assets in estate planning

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2024 | Wills

The usage and relevance of digital assets have increased in recent years. However, while more and more people own digital assets, some forget to include them in their estate plans.

Here is how to account for your digital assets during estate planning:

List them

You need to list all your digital assets to avoid forgetting any. Cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) are not the only digital assets; any property in your phone, computer or external hard drives may be classified as a digital asset.  

These include your online bank accounts, credit card accounts, email accounts, social media accounts, contact lists, utility accounts, subscription accounts, digital storage accounts, domain names, websites and blogs, digital photos and videos, airline miles and hotel points, shopping accounts, gaming accounts and digital rights to literary, musical composition, motion picture, or theatrical works, among others.

Determine how your loved ones can access them

After listing all your digital assets, assess if your loved ones can access them. Even though you will provide your family with your usernames and passwords/PINs, their use of your accounts may be unauthorized. Therefore, you may need to talk to the companies about transferring access when you die. This way, the accounts will not be deactivated or go through difficult processes to be transferred.

For example, with bank accounts, you can name payable-on-death (POD) beneficiaries on your accounts. With social media accounts, a loved one may need to prove they are your immediate family member by sharing a copy of your birth or death certificate to gain access, and so on. Learn about the terms and conditions of your digital assets to make informed decisions.

State your wishes

At this point, you can state your wishes. Should your social media accounts be deactivated? What should happen to the revenue from your website/blog? And so forth.

A digital estate plan doesn’t have to be complicated. Legal guidance can make your experience more manageable.