Most use digital assets to pay bills, buy goods, send emails, or post information on social media. However, many don’t realize that under the uniform law, family members or executors have no legal right to access digital assets without advance access rights. Therefore, it is vital to remember to create an estate plan that includes digital assets.
What are Digital Assets?
Digital assets include online bank accounts, investment records, domain names, emails, social media accounts, online video/photo storage, personal websites or blogs, virtual currencies, credit card rewards, information stored in the cloud, digital copyrights, trademarks, and more.
So, how do you include all these assets into your estate plan? Below are five simple steps for starting the process:
- Create an Inventory
Create a list of all digital assets and login information that go along with them.
- Decide How to Manage Assets
It’s essential to understand how these assets will be managed before deciding who will have access to them. Even though many digital assets have no value, it’s important to consider that when you pass away, you leave clear instructions regarding those digital assets. It’s important to consider whether those assets should be deleted, modified, or distributed to other family members or heirs.
- Determine Who Will Manage Assets
The key concern is maintaining privacy and security and determining who can legally access this information upon your death or incapacitation. Whoever you designate to manage the assets should be provided a copy of the inventory list with login information.
- Add Information to The Estate Plan
Insert a provision in the Will that grants your executor the authority to access the digital assets. If you want someone other than your named executor to access the digital assets, you can appoint a special fiduciary for that specific purpose. Also, it’s important to add language that grants your power-of-attorney authority to act on your behalf with respect to your digital assets.
- Continuously Monitor the Law and Edit Assets
Keep in mind that as technology evolves, the law will too. Regularly consulting an estate planning attorney to update your estate plan with any changes in the law as it relates to your digital assets is important.
If you have any questions regarding digital assets and how you can add them to your estate plan, consult with our experienced estate planning attorneys by calling 856.782.8450 or visiting www.timriceelderlaw.com.