estate planning
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As our lives become increasingly digital, more and more of our valuable assets are being stored online or on devices. From social media accounts to cryptocurrency wallets, digital assets have become an important part of many people’s financial picture. This raises an important question when creating your estate plan – can you include digital assets? The short answer is yes. Here’s what you need to know about handling digital assets in your estate plan.

What are digital assets?

Digital assets cover a wide range of online accounts and electronic files. Some common examples include:

– Social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
– Email accounts and contacts
– Photos and videos stored in the cloud or on devices
– Music, ebook, and movie libraries
– Domain names and websites
– Cryptocurrency wallets and exchanges
– Rewards programs and memberships

Digital assets have real monetary and sentimental value. Protecting them through your estate plan is crucial.

Why include digital assets in your estate plan?

There are several key reasons to formally include digital assets in your estate plan:

– Protect their monetary value. Digital assets like cryptocurrency or loyalty points have real financial value. Without a plan, they could be lost.

– Preserve sentimental value. Photos, videos, and social media accounts may have deep emotional value. Planning helps ensure loved ones can access them.

– Support your online legacy. Accounts memorialized or passed on intact can become part of your lasting legacy.

– Avoid identity theft. Unclaimed online accounts are targets for theft. Proper planning helps prevent security issues.

– Facilitate account termination. Instructions make it simpler for companies to close unused accounts.

How to include digital assets in estate planning documents

The first step is to make a thorough inventory of all your digital assets and accounts. Once the full scope is understood, there are several ways to address them in your legal documents:

– Detail specific planning instructions in your will. This can include things like account termination, asset distribution, and memorialization.

– Grant digital asset access through power of attorney forms. This gives a designated person authority over accounts if you become incapacitated.

– Provide login details and instructions in a digital estate plan kept with your documents. This helps executors carry out your wishes.

– Name a digital executor in addition to a traditional executor to handle online assets.

It’s crucial your documents refer to digital assets as a distinct category requiring special handling. Specific details can be stored securely outside your will.

Utilizing online estate planning tools

Many online estate planning platforms and tools have options to store digital asset information and provide access to designated individuals. This includes products like Everplans and SecureSafe.

Key services may include:

– Secure storage of login credentials and instructions

– Digital asset questionnaires to simplify listing everything

– Easy access for executors and heirs to carry out account wishes

– Automatic deletion of accounts after periods of inactivity

How companies handle account holder death

Most major online platforms and services have policies about what happens to accounts when an individual dies. Common account treatments after a death include:

– Memorialization, with profile converted to “Remembering” status.

– Full account deletion and termination.

– Granting limited profile access to verified next of kin.

– Transferring account ownership and assets to designated beneficiaries.

The specific policies vary greatly depending on the platform. Checking a company’s estate planning guidance is advised.

Protect your digital legacy

Online and digital assets are a rapidly growing component of modern estate planning. By inventorying accounts, providing clear instructions, and utilizing available tools, you can ensure your digital legacy is protected. With some foresight, you can pass on your digital assets just as securely as your financial and physical ones.


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