For many years, when a person created an estate plan, they may have only considered including physical assets. However, it’s just as important to think about how digital assets will be addressed after the estate plan’s creator passes away.
Identifying digital assets
First, it’s helpful to understand what is included in the term digital asset. It includes financial assets, like online bank accounts, online investment accounts, digital currency and digital wallets.
It also includes emails, digital photos, blogs, websites, digital copyrights and domain names, in addition to social media accounts.
Inclusion in the estate plan
There are several reasons to consider including digital assets in an estate plan. The person who administers the estate after the decedent’s passing can be given instructions on how to manage the decedent’s online presence. This could involve taking down social media accounts or saving photos and videos that were posted online, for example.
Also, the funds in online bank or investment accounts, just like physical accounts, will need to be distributed to the beneficiaries. While it isn’t required, it’s useful to have an estate administrator who has technical knowledge.
It is helpful to create a list of all digital assets for the estate administrator. Some people also choose to include their usernames and passwords for each account, although it is not required. If the estate plan creator has documents or other information stored on an external device, they may want to include directions for how to access it.
These are only some examples of digital assets to include in an estate plan. If a person needs help to create an estate plan, there is assistance available.