Inheritance planning often focuses on homes, bank accounts, and family heirlooms. However, in today’s digital age, it’s vital to include digital assets in your estate plan. As we live more of our lives online, these assets can be of significant emotional and monetary value to our loved ones.
What Are Digital Assets?
Digital assets include any online accounts or files you own. Think emails, social media profiles, digital photos, and cloud storage. They also cover domain names, cryptocurrency, and online investment accounts. In short, if it’s digital and holds value to you or someone else, it’s a digital asset.
Why Include Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan?
You might wonder why digital assets need special attention. Firstly, access to these assets can get lost in the shuffle after a person passes away. Imagine precious family photos stored online becoming inaccessible. Secondly, some digital assets, like cryptocurrency, can be of substantial monetary worth. They need protection and proper management after you’re gone.
The Legal Challenge With Digital Assets
Here lies a complication: the legal terrain around digital assets in estate planning is tricky. Different service providers have varied terms of service agreements. Many don’t allow transfer of ownership upon death. This makes it essential to plan ahead with clear instructions for your executor.
Steps to Include Digital Assets in Your Estate Plan
How do you begin including digital assets in your estate plan? Follow these steps:
Create an Inventory
Start by listing all your digital assets. Include login information and passwords. Ensure this list is secure but accessible to your executor when the time comes.
Update Estate Planning Documents
Talk to an estate planning attorney to update your will and other estate planning documents. They will draft clauses that grant your executor authority to manage your digital assets.
Understand Terms of Service Agreements
Read the terms of service for your digital accounts. Some platforms like Google and Facebook have built-in tools for legacy contacts or inactive account managers.
Leave Clear Instructions
Detail what you wish to happen with each digital asset. Should your social media profiles be memorialized or deleted? Who gets access to your digital photos? Clear instructions prevent confusion and ensure your wishes are honored.
Appoint a Digital Executor
Consider appointing a digital executor to handle your digital assets. This person should be tech-savvy and trustworthy, with a clear understanding of your wishes.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
When planning for digital assets, some common pitfalls can hinder your efforts. Avoiding these mistakes can save your family a lot of stress:
- Neglecting to provide access: If you don’t provide login information, your assets may become inaccessible.
- Ignoring terms of service agreements: Violating these can cause legal trouble for your loved ones.
- Forgetting to update your inventory: As you acquire new digital assets, keep your inventory current.
Your digital footprint is a significant part of your legacy. Incorporating digital assets into your estate plan ensures that nothing valuable – be it financial or sentimental – gets lost in the ether.
Incorporating digital assets into your inheritance plan might seem daunting, but it’s an essential step in comprehensive estate planning. As you secure your physical assets, give equal attention to the digital. Your loved ones will thank you for your foresight.
Your digital legacy matters. Take the time now to ensure it’s preserved according to your wishes. After all, inheritance planning in the digital age requires a forward-thinking approach. Don’t leave your digital assets to chance. Plan ahead and give yourself peace of mind.
Let’s Get Started!
We can help you create a comprehensive plan that includes a digital component so you have all your bases covered and you can proceed with peace of mind. You can call us at 888-222-1328 to schedule a consultation at our Phoenix, AZ estate planning office, and you can alternately send us a message through our contact page.
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