Estate planning is a crucial process that plans for management and distribution of one’s estate. A modern-day estate goes beyond properties and physical assets. You must consider many different digital assets. It is important to plan for digital assets to prevent any financial or sentimental losses.
Laws and regulations around data security and digital assets are evolving rapidly, but there are some steps you can take today to prepare your digital estate plan.
Create a digital asset inventory for Estate Planning
The digital asset inventory lets loved ones know what accounts you have and how to access them. Therefore, consider including login information for your password manager, email accounts, financial accounts (including cryptocurrency), social media accounts, online shopping and subscription services, streaming and entertainment services, personal websites, utility companies, security systems, and any intellectual property or other specialty digital assets.
Securely store information
It is important to ensure that any login and access information is stored securely. Do not include a list of account usernames and passwords, for example, in a will since a will would become public record upon passing. A password manager may be a good solution. By utilizing a password manager to access all your digital logins, an executor can obtain access to all accounts with just one login. However you choose to share digital account information, ensure that the executor can securely and easily obtain the information.
Outline your wishes
Lastly, for each of your digital assets and accounts, clarify your intentions for the executor. Do you wish for social media accounts to be deleted immediately or should the contents be memorialized? What are your wishes for digital assets that have monetary value or generate revenue, such as a website or online store?
In conclusion, you should incorporate your digital assets into your estate plan. We recommend that you discuss your digital assets and wishes with an estate planning attorney. An attorney can prepare the appropriate legal documents specific to your situation and current state and federal laws.