When they begin estate planning, many people have a traditional concept of what is involved: physical property, bank accounts and guardianship of dependents to name a few. However, a growing number of adults have valuable digital assets as well. When people think of digital assets, items like cryptocurrency or NFTs come to mind; however, anyone with a points account, an email address, cloud storage, or even social media could have a digital asset worth planning for.
What is a digital asset?
A digital asset is anything stored on digital hardware or online, such as in cloud storage or on a website. This can include any accounts someone owns. It can also include files such as movies, books, music, and photos. Those who own cryptocurrency have a particular interest in protecting digital assets, but even those who do not should consider planning ahead for these items.
How to include digital assets in an estate plan
As with physical assets, the first step in planning for digital assets is to take inventory. In the case of digital assets, this inventory should include login information. Then, document what should be done with each account. Options can include transferring the account to another person, shutting it down, or retaining assets before closing the account. Cryptocurrency in particular should be well documented with passwords as it can be otherwise lost.
To ensure your executor has full access to physical and digital assets, planning is imperative. However, many planners neglect to include digital assets in their estate plans since they are relatively new considerations. To understand how to include digital assets in one’s will as well as how to store sensitive information regarding digital accounts as part of an estate plan it can help to speak to an estate planning lawyer.