In the Digital Age, estate planning has taken on a new dimension. Beyond tangible possessions, it’s crucial to consider digital assets in your estate plan. From sentimental memories to financial information, the online world holds a treasure trove of valuable content that deserves protection and careful consideration.
Technology continues to shape the way people accumulate and store wealth. Digital assets have become integral to the financial, personal and professional lives of most Americans. However, many individuals overlook these assets when creating their estate plans, potentially leaving their loved ones with a complex mess to untangle.
Identifying your digital assets
Before effectively including digital assets in your estate plan, you need to identify what constitutes a digital asset. These assets can be categorized into two main types, the first one being financial digital assets. These include online bank accounts, investment accounts, cryptocurrencies and any other digital platform that holds monetary value. Providing access to these accounts is crucial for the smooth transfer of wealth.
The second type of digital assets is personal digital assets; these encompass sentimental items like photos, videos, social media accounts and personal websites. While these may not hold financial value, they often hold immense emotional significance.
And suppose you’re a business owner or a professional. In that case, your digital assets might include proprietary software, client databases, intellectual property and online storefronts.
Steps to secure your digital legacy
The first and most important step is listing all your digital assets. Include account information, login credentials and any relevant instructions for accessing these assets.
The next move should be to appoint an executor. Like a traditional executor, a digital executor manages your digital assets according to your wishes. This person should be tech-savvy and familiar with your online presence.
Lastly, protecting your digital assets using strong, unique passwords and two-factor authentication would be best. Store these credentials in a secure password manager that your digital executor can access.
Remember to clearly outline how you want each digital asset handled in your estate plan. For financial assets, provide instructions on transferring ownership. For personal assets, you might want to grant someone access to download and preserve cherished memories.
Incorporating digital assets into your estate plan is no longer an option but a necessity in the Digital Age. By following the steps outlined above and seeking necessary legal counsel, you can better ensure that your online legacy is as secure as your physical one.