Including Digital Assets In Your Estate Plans
When you think of estate planning, you probably think of writing a will, designating who will have power of attorney for you in the event you are incapacitated, and the charities you would like to support with your assets. This is not wrong, but it is incomplete for 2018.
Today, most of us have digital assets in some form. Yours might be an online bank account, a digital wallet that contains cryptocurrency like Bitcoin, or an online business. Your digital assets do not necessarily have to be financial in nature – your social media channels and other accounts are also your digital property, and these, too, should be included in your estate plans.
Digital Assets to Include in your Estate Plans
It can be easy to overlook just how far your online presence reaches. Some of your online assets have monetary value, such as:
- Online bank accounts;
- Online brokerage accounts;
- Transactional accounts like an eBay or Amazon account;
- Intellectual property from which you earn royalties, such as a monetized Youtube channel or ebooks you authored;
- Domain names and websites; and
- Digital currencies.
Other assets have personal value to you and your loved ones, such as:
- Your social media accounts;
- Photos and videos stored online and on your devices;
- Your personal website; and
- Your online communications.
How to Plan for your Digital Assets’ Futures
Some online platforms make it easy for users to make their post-death wishes regarding their accounts known and for users’ loved ones to carry out these wishes. Two examples are Facebook’s option to designate a legacy contact and memorialize a deceased user’s page and Google’s Inactive Account Manager. Take a look at the user settings for your online accounts to see if you can use one of these options.
For your other digital assets, designate which loved ones will access them in your estate plan just like you designated who will receive each tangible asset. Backup your files on a hard drive or a cloud storage device and keep your passwords in a safe place, such as a safe deposit box. Make sure your will clearly states your consent for your designated loved ones to access your online accounts. Otherwise, it could be difficult or impossible for them to gain access, which can mean your assets are lost forever. Go through your entire online estate piece by piece with your lawyer to make sure every digital asset is accounted for in your estate plan.
Work with an Experienced Tampa Estate Planning Lawyer
Estate planning can be a complex process. To ensure that all of your assets are included in your estate plan and that the plan clearly provides for your loved ones to receive the assets after you pass away, develop your estate plans with help from an experienced Tampa estate planning lawyer from Bubley & Bubley, P.A. Contact our office today to schedule your initial consultation with a member of our team.